Inositol is necessary for the formation of lecithin and functions closely with a B complex vitamin, Choline. Since it is not essential in the human diet, it cannot be considered a vitamin. Inositol is a fundamental ingredient of cell membranes and is necessary for proper function of nerves, brain, and muscles in the body. Inositol works in conjunction with folacin, Vitamins B-6 and B-12, choline, betaine, and methionine to prevent the accumulation of fats in the liver. It exists as the fiber component phytic acid, which has been investigated for its anti-cancer properties.
Inositol is primarily used in the treatment of liver problems, depression, panic disorder, and diabetes. It also aids in the breakdown of fats, helps in the reduction of blood cholesterol, and helps to prevent thinning hair. A diet low in Inositol may result in deficiency symptoms that culminate in high blood cholesterol, constipation, eczema, and hair loss. Neurotransmitters such as seratonin in the brain depend on Inositol to function properly. Low levels of this nutrient may result in depression and some research has shown that increased levels of Inositol appear to be a promising treatment for depression.
According to recent research, the abundance of Inositol in fiber may explain in part why high fiber diets are often associated with a lower incidence of certain cancers. Although promising in the treatment of depression and high blood cholesterol, there is no significant research available to support the use of Inositol for weight loss.