Myo-inositol, known to some as Vitamin B8, is a type of sugar used as cure for many disorders. From diabetes to schizophrenia, myo-inositol can provide relief for a myriad of diseases. Outside its common indications, myo-inositol is said to be effective in curing thyroid disorders as well. If you are suffering from any of these maladies, then make sure to read on to know more about Myo-inositol and how it can boost your thyroid health.
What is Myo-inositol?
Myo-inositol is obtained from inositol, a pseudo-vitamin naturally occurring in food products such as beans, nuts, grains, and fruits. The myo-inositol content of the said produce is roughly 1 gram per serving.
While humans are capable of producing myo-inositol through carbohydrates, further studies suggest that Myo-inositol supplementation can help cure a variety of diseases.
Myo-inositol is indicated for a number of conditions, such as:
- Metabolic Disorders
- Diabetes and Diabetes-related nerve problems
- Gestational Diabetes (GDM.) Intake of myo-inositol together with folic acid has been known to decrease the incidence of GDM from 92% to 60% in at-risk individuals.
- Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), which is characterized by a failure to ovulate. It also comes with high blood pressure, testosterone and triglyceride levels. Myo-inositol is able to address PCOS, as well as other diabetic and metabolic disorders, by helping insulin to work better. At the same time, it is believed that it can balance certain chemicals in the body, thereby addressing the symptoms associated with the aforementioned mental health disorders.
- Post-menopausal women diagnosed with Metabolic Syndrome. Intake of myo-inositol alongside alpha-lipoic acid is said to lower cholesterol, triglyceride, and blood pressure levels. It is also said to enhance the body’s insulin resistance.
- Mental Health Disorders
The study of Shimon et al shows that people suffering from depression, compulsive disorder, and anxiety usually have lower inositol levels. Myo-inositol is able to affect the levels of dopamine and serotonin, both of which play big roles in regulating mood. As such, myo-inositol supplementation can help relieve the symptoms of the following mental health disorders:
- Alzheimer’s Disease
- Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
- Bipolar Disorder
- Panic Disorder
- Post-traumatic Stress Disorder
- Anxiety Disorder
- Trichotillomania (Compulsive Hair Pulling)
- High triglyceride levels
- Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome in neonates. Apart from improving breathing, myo-inositol is said to reduce several risks, such as brain hemorrhage, blindness, even death.
- Infertility in Men
- Erectile Dysfunction
Apart from treating a bevy of conditions, Myo-inositol intake is known to prevent adverse medical conditions, such as the following, from occurring:
- Cancer. Many studies have seen the benefits of Myo-inositol in preventing multiple forms of cancer. One is lung cancer, where a reduction in pre-cancerous lung markers were seen in 21 heavy smokers who were supplemented with Myo-inositol. Liver cancer too, was prevented, in a study of mice supplemented with Myo-inositol and carotenoids.
- Heart Disease. People with metabolic syndrome, who can be cured with Myo-inositol, are at risk of developing heart disease. Consequently, supplementation of Myo-inositol has been deemed effective in reducing the risk of heart disease in the said population.
- Neural Tube Defect (NTD) complication in pregnancy. NTDs such as spina bifida and anencephaly are brought about by many factors, including adequacy of maternal nutrition. While folic acid is known to prevent spinal NTDs, only Myo-inositol and other inositols are effective in preventing both cranial and spinal NTDs.
- Side effect Psoriasis in Lithium users. Psoriasis is a side effect of Lithium, which is prescribed to people with bipolar disorders. Improvements were seen in psoriatic patients taking Lithium, while no changes were observed in psoriatic patients not taking Lithium.
Dosage, Safety, and Side Effects
Myo-inositol is safe to take for adults, pregnant or breastfeeding women, as well as children aged 5-12 years old. The dosages are as follows:
- Gestational Diabetes. 2 grams of Myo-inositol with 200 mcg of folic acid twice a day.
- Polycystic ovary syndrome. 4 grams of Myo-inositol and 400 mcg of folic acid for six months.
- Pregnancy complications. 2 grams of Myo-inositol plus 200 mcg of folic acid twice a day during the first trimester of pregnancy.
- Metabolic syndrome. 2 grams of Myo-inositol twice a day for one year.
- Panic disorder. 12-18 grams of Myo-inositol per day.
- Lithium-associated psoriasis. 6 grams Myo-inositol daily.
- Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome. 120-160 mg/kg of myo-inositol orally; 80-160 mg/kg of intravenous myo-inositol
Side effects of Myo-inositol include tiredness, stomach pain, nausea, dizziness, sleep problems, and headaches. This usually comes with an intake of 12 grams or more of Myo-inositol.
Myo-inositol is capable of lowering glucose levels, and as such, diabetics taking inositol should be wary of hypoglycemia symptoms, such as sweating, dizziness, shakiness, hunger, irritability, headache, and anxiety.
Myo-Inositol for Thyroid Health
As it has been stated above, supplementation with Myo-inositol brings a lot of benefits. Seemingly, its list of health miracles goes on, especially in the field of thyroid treatment.
Hashimoto’s Disease is an autoimmune dysfunction, meaning the body acts upon its own cells, tissues, and systems. In this case, the body attempts to destroy the thyroid gland. It can be caused by several factors, including hormones, genetics, excessive iodine intake, and radiation exposure. As a result, the body reverts to hypothyroidism, wherein there is an inability to produce the needed amount of thyroid hormones. Symptoms include fatigue, weight gain, fertility problems, depression, joint and muscle pain, to name a few.
How Myo-inositol Works
The mechanism behind Myo-inositol’s wonderful feats is explained in the study of Fallahi et al, entitled “Myo-Inositol in Autoimmune Thyroiditis and Hypothyroidism.” The authors stated that Myo-inositol is a precursor for the phosophoinositide synthesis, thereby affecting many cellular activities. Myo-inositol affects the thyroid cells through Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) signaling, the dysregulation of which and other processes can result to autoimmunity – which is the case for Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis.
Another proof of Myo-inositol’s beneficial effects is seen in the study of Ferrari and her colleagues. Their study was able to show that Myo-inositol supplementation, alongside Selenium, is able to protect the thyroid cells. The research featured primary thyrocytes (thyroid cells) from euthyroid patients and individuals suffering from Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. Samples from both groups were tainted with hydrogen peroxide. Apart from confirming the fact that hydrogen peroxide has a toxic effect to the thyrocytes, results showed that Myo-inositol and Selenium supplementation were effective in decreasing the release of substances that lead to autoimmune thyroiditis. With the said results, it was concluded that Myo-inositol is truly effective in protecting thyroid cells from harmful substances.
The Proof in Studies
Although autoimmune diseases are deemed incurable, the study of Norcio and Basciani, which was printed in the International Journal of Endocrinology, in 2017, disproves that. It showed that Myo-inositol can also treat patients with Hashimoto’s disease who present as sub-clinically hypothyroid. It featured 86 patients with the following parameters:
- TSH levels between 3 to 6 mIU/L
- Elevated Serum Antithyroid Peroxidase (TPOAb) and/or Antithyroglobulin (TgAB) levels
- Normal Free Thyroxine and Free Triiodothyronine levels
The following participants were given 600 milligrams of Myo-inositol together with 85 micrograms of Selenium orally for 6 months. After the study, participants exhibited a decrease in TSH levels, from an average of 4.32 to 3.12. TgAB levels decreased from an average of 344.96 to 288.84 while TPOAb dropped to 620.38 from 720.67. With that being said, the authors generalized that apart from helping restore the patient’s euthyroid state, Myo-inositol and Selenium supplementation can help improve the person’s well-being as well.
Apart from treating hypothyroid patients with Hashimoto’s disease, Myo-inositol is also capable of curbing the development of overt hypothyroidism in euthyroid individuals diagnosed with Hashimoto’s disease. The study conducted by Ferrari et al yet again featured 21 Caucasian patients, who were twice daily supplemented with Myo-inositol and Selenium at dosages of 600 milligrams and 83 milligrams respectively.
After a course of 6 months, the participants were evaluated and lab results showed that high TSH values and antithyroid auto-antibodies declined, thereby foretelling Myo-inositol’s ability to reduce the risk of hypothyroid progression in Hashimoto patients. As a bonus, CXCL10 levels lowered as well, which led the researchers to conclude that Myo-inositol and Selenium supplementation is able to modulate thyroid immunity too.
Although both studies advocate Myo-inositol treatment for as long as 6 months, the study by Briguglia shows that antibody and hormone titers decline even after just 3 months of treatment. However, to ensure that the full effects of Myo-inositol are maximized, experts advise patients to continue with a full 6-month regimen.
As it has been seen in many of the aforementioned studies, Selenium is the supplement of choice that comes with Myo-inositol therapy – and it comes so with many valid reasons. For one, the thyroid gland has a high concentration of selenium bound to selenoproteins. It is incorporated in iodothyronine deiodinases, which is essential for the metabolism of thyroid hormones. Selenium is also known to have an anti-oxidative feature, as it helps remove free radicals generated during thyroid hormone production.
In fact, low selenium levels were known to increase one’s risk of developing an enlarged thyroid gland and thyroid nodules as well. These were seen in a Chinese study that compared low-selenium and adequate-selenium (through diet) counties. Those who belonged to low-selenium counties exhibited higher prevalence of thyroid diseases, such as subclinical hypothyroidism, hypothyroidism, and autoimmune thyroiditis, to name a few.
Given its many benefits, Selenium has been the supplement of choice, especially in treating Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. Numerous studies have shown that intake of Selenium is vital in decreasing the levels of TPOAb and TgAB, some even reaching normal levels.
Thyroid nodules refer to a lump of abnormal thyroid cells. It is a common condition that as much as 76% of people screened for thyroid disorders – especially females and the aged population – manifest with thyroid nodules. Although most are asymptomatic and benign, 7-15% of people with thyroid nodules end up with thyroid cancer – a condition which can be exacerbated with family history, sex, advanced age, and radiation exposure.
To determine if Myo-inositol was effective in decreasing the size of thyroid nodules, Nordio and Bascani explored its effects via ultrasound. A total of 34 patients were recruited, and those who supplemented with Myo-inositol and Selenium showed a reduction in the size, number, and elasticity of their thyroid nodules. As expected, their TSH levels decreased as well. Although the study was small in size, the data yielded was enough to warrant one of Myo-inositol’s many benefits on thyroid health.
Given the many scientific evidences mentioned above, it is without a doubt that Myo-inositol can help cure thyroid disorders. Although it comes with minimal risks and side effects, Myo-inositol can interact with drugs that you are currently taking for your thyroid problem. With that being said, it is best to consult with your doctor prior to starting this regimen.
Briguglia, G. (2018). Time-dependent efficacy of myo-inositol plus selenium in subclinical hypothyroidism. International Journal of Medical Device and Adjuvant Treatments,1(1). Retrieved December 13, 2018, from https://www.ijmdat.com/article/108.
Fallahi, P., Ferrari, S. M., Elia, G., Ragusa, F., Paparo, S. R., Caruso, C., . . . Antonnelli, A. (2018). Myo-inositol in autoimmune thyroiditis, and hypothyroidism. Reviews in Endocrine and Metabolic Disorders,1-6. Retrieved December 13, 2018, from https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11154-018-9477-9.
Ferrari, S. M., Elia, G., Ragusa, F., Paparo, S. R., Caruso, C., Benvenga, S., . . . Antonnelli, A. (2018). The protective effect of myo-inositol on human thyrocytes [Abstract]. Reviews in Endocrine and Metabolic Disorders. Retrieved December 13, 2018, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30511181.
Ferrari, S. M., Fallahi, P., Di Bari, F., Vita, R., & Antonnelli, A. (2017). Myo-inositol and selenium reduce the risk of developing overt hypothyroidism in patients with autoimmune thyroiditis. European Review for Medical and Pharmacological Sciences,21(2), 36-42. Retrieved December 13, 2018, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28724175.
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