Información detallada del término

Término: Inositol

Short introduction

  • Inositol or myo-inositol is a water-soluble substance with a chemical structure similar to that of glucose. For this reason, it is sometimes called a sugar. It was formerly known as meso-inositol and was once considered a vitamin of the B-complex.
  • Inositol seems to be present in greater concentration in the cells in and around the central nervous system, including brain cells and retina cells.
  • Inositol is a half-vitamin. It is essential in specific circumstances (e.g. during periods of rapid growth in infants and children). Despite the fact that humans can synthesise inositol in small amounts (possibly produced by intestinal bacteria) it must be consumed in the diet to maintain health. It is therefore a conditionally essential nutrient.
  • It is found in human milk.

Main natural sources

  • Found in: fruits (cantaloupe – type of melon, citrus fruits except lemons), beans and lentils, whole grains, nuts.

Main function

  •  Myo-inositol plays a central role in cellular metabolism. However, the functions of inositol are not completely understood yet and further research is required.
  • Role in cell structure and integrity. Inositol related compounds are components of cell membrane lipids that form the surface of the cell. Cell membranes regulate the contents of the cells, which enables effective functioning.
  • Inositol compounds (inositol substituted by phosphates) function as precursor for a group of membrane-bound signalling molecules and messengers (transmitting communication among cells) that are involved in regulation of cellular processes.
  • Plays a role in processing fats. It helps to move fats from the liver to the cells and fat metabolism and reduces blood cholesterol (reducing the risk of cardio-vascular diseases).
  • Involved in formation of the neural system and helps transmitting messages along the neural pathways.
  • Promotes healthy hair growth.
  • Studies show a beneficial effect of inositol supplementation on lung and retina development in (premature) infants.

Deficiency disease

  • Deficiency diseases are not known. Further research is required. Some studies show that supplementation helps in treating symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. It may also help individuals suffering from anxiety, depression and panic attacks.

Recommended daily intake

DRIs (Dietary Reference Intakes) have not been established for inositol. 

Sinónimos: Myo-inositol

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