Vitamins Guide – Inositol
What is Inositol?
Inositol is not actually a vitamin but a sugar that influences the pancreatic hormone insulin and hormones associated with mood and perception. Inositol is naturally present in inositol-rich foods such as citrus fruits and high-fiber foods like beans, brown rice, corn, seeds, and wheat bran. It is also available as a supplement and commonly used to treat medical conditions.
Inositol in More Detail
Inositol (Myo-inositol, actually) is a carbocyclic sugar abundant in the brain and other tissues. It regulates cell signal transduction in response to various hormones, neurotransmitters, and growth factors and plays a role in osmoregulation.
Inositol is a sugar
Inositol is a cyclohexane sugar with six hydroxyl groups bonded to the six carbons with the specific stereochemistry shown in the above picture of the inositol molecule. (The two bolded arrows come out towards you, while the four hashed arrows go away from you into the screen, giving a puckered ring in 3-D). The substance actually tastes sweet but with half the sweetness of table sugar. The compound is made naturally in the body from glucose units, with the kidneys producing some two grams daily. However, the highest concentration of inositol is in the brain, which plays a crucial role in neurotransmitter manufacture.
Inositol in Inositol-rich foods
Inositol, its phosphates, and associated lipids are found in the five inositol-rich foods described below. In addition, the hexaphosphate of inositol, phytic acid, or its salts, the phytates, serve as phosphate stores in seeds such as nuts and beans. Phytic acid also occurs in cereals with high bran content.
Phytate is not directly bioavailable in the diet as it is indigestible. So, food preparation techniques partly break down the phytates. On the other hand, inositol in the form of glycerophospholipids, as found in plant-derived substances such as lecithins, is well absorbed by the body and relatively bioavailable.
Myo-Inositol is phosphate-free and was once a member of the vitamin B complex as vitamin B8, but as the body makes it from glucose sugar, it is not an essential nutrient, so it’s not a vitamin.
Currently, there is no recommended daily allowance for inositol. But two forms of the compound are used in supplements: Myo-inositol and D-chiro-inositol.
5 Amazing Inositol-Rich Foods
Inositol is a type of sugar essential for proper brain and nerve function, as well as other bodily processes. While our bodies can produce inositol on their own, it’s also found in various foods. Here are five delicious inositol-rich foods:
Inositol-Rich Foods: Citrus fruits
Citrus fruits like oranges and grapefruits are not only delicious, but they are also high in inositol. One medium-sized orange contains about 50 mg of inositol, while a medium-sized grapefruit contains about 40 mg. These fruits are also rich in vitamin C, which can help boost your immune system and protect against diseases like cancer and heart disease. Try adding slices of citrus fruits to your water or salads for a refreshing and healthy snack.
Other Citrus Fruits
In addition to oranges and grapefruits, other inositol-rich citrus fruits include lemons, limes, and tangerines. These fruits are also low in calories and high in fiber, making them a great addition to any diet. You can also incorporate citrus fruits into your breakfast by squeezing fresh juice over your oatmeal or adding slices to your yogurt. With their sweet and tangy flavor, citrus fruits are a delicious way to boost your inositol intake and improve your overall health.
Inositol-Rich Foods: Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds are another great source of inositol. Almonds, in particular, are high in this nutrient, with one ounce (about 23 almonds) containing around 170 mg of inositol. Sunflower seeds are also a good option, with one ounce containing about 40 mg of inositol. These snacks are tasty and provide a good source of healthy fats, protein, and fiber. Try adding them to your trail mix or sprinkling them on top of your yogurt or oatmeal for a nutritious boost.
Other nuts and seeds
Other ones rich in inositol include pistachios, cashews, and pumpkin seeds. These can be enjoyed as a snack on their own or added to recipes like salads, stir-fries, and baked goods. Inositol is also found in fruits like cantaloupe and oranges, as well as in beans and whole grains. By incorporating these foods into your diet, you can ensure that you get enough inositol to support your overall health and well-being.
Inositol-Rich Foods: Whole Grains
Whole grains like brown rice and oats are a great source of fiber and contain inositol. One cup of cooked brown rice contains around 65 mg of inositol, while one cup of cooked oats contains about 40 mg. These grains are versatile and can be used in a variety of dishes, from breakfast porridge to stir-fries and salads. Try swapping out white rice for brown rice or adding oats to your smoothies for a nutritious and delicious boost.
Rich in Minerals and Antioxidants
In addition to their inositol content, whole grains like brown rice and oats are also rich in other important nutrients like vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. They are also low in fat and cholesterol, making them heart-healthy. To incorporate more whole grains into your diet, try experimenting with different types of grains like quinoa, barley, and farro. You can also make your own granola or energy bars using oats as a base. With so many delicious and nutritious options, there’s no reason not to add more whole grains to your diet.
Inositol-Rich Foods: Beans and Legumes
Beans and legumes are a great source of protein and fiber and contain inositol. For example, one cup of cooked chickpeas contains around 65 mg of inositol, while one cup of cooked lentils contains about 50 mg. These versatile ingredients can be used in a variety of dishes, from soups and stews to salads and dips. Try adding chickpeas to your salads or making lentil soup for a nutritious and delicious meal.
Full of Nutrients
In addition to their inositol content, beans and legumes are also rich in other essential nutrients like iron, zinc, and folate. They are also low in fat and cholesterol, making them a heart-healthy choice. So whether you’re a vegetarian or just looking to add more plant-based protein to your diet, beans, and legumes are a great option. Try making a chickpea curry or lentil chili for a satisfying and nutritious meal.
Inositol-Rich Foods: Leafy Greens
Leafy greens like spinach and kale are not only packed with vitamins and minerals but also contain inositol. One cup of cooked spinach contains around 40 mg of inositol, while one cup of raw kale contains about 20 mg. These greens can be added to smoothies, salads, or sautéed as a side dish. Try making a spinach and feta omelet for breakfast or a kale and quinoa salad for lunch to get your daily dose of inositol.
Spinach and Kale
Inositol is a nutrient that plays a crucial role in many bodily functions, including nerve signaling and insulin sensitivity. Leafy greens like spinach and kale are great sources of inositol, making them an excellent addition to any diet. In addition to their inositol content, these greens are packed with other essential vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin K, vitamin A, and iron.
Add these Inositol-rich foods to Smoothies
To incorporate more leafy greens into your diet, try adding them to smoothies, salads, or sautéed as a side dish. You can also get creative and make a spinach and feta omelet for breakfast or a kale and quinoa salad for lunch. With so many delicious options, it’s easy to get your daily dose of inositol from leafy greens.
As Inositol is no longer classed as vitamin as the body makes it, you would think supplementation isn't needed. Still, it is part of our EV-16 Essential 16 Vitamins. Each capsule contains 50 mg of inositol. Below is a complete list of the vitamins in these supplements:
More about Inositol-rich foods
Synonymous terms: inositol rich foods; inositol foods for pcos; d-chiro-inositol foods; inositol rich fruits; myo-inositol in food; herbs high in inositol