Living a healthy “evolved” lifestyle in this high-tech modern world isn’t easy. We all try to eat right, get regular exercise and control stress. But the reality is, this world we’ve created conspires at every turn to make us look and feel old, ill, and weak. We breathe polluted air, we don’t get enough sun, we stress about bills, traffic and the economy, we don’t always get enough sleep or exercise, we don’t always eat as we should, and when we do, even the best natural foods are not as abundant in micronutrients as they once were.
Some of the most critical nutrients are missing entirely – and it’s only getting worse as the commercialization of food continues to spiral out of control. For these reasons and many others supplementation is an integral part of the Primal Blueprint. Which is why I started this series of newsletters: to provide insider information on the top supplements you should consider taking for optimum health and longevity.
This week we’ll explore Inositol.
What it does: In nature, inositol is found in multiple forms. Most people know it as a nutrient found in certain foods (especially grapefruit), but it can also be synthesized in the human body from glucose. For years, it was pegged as B8 – a member of the B-complex group of vitamins – but it’s now classified as an essential nutrient, a crucial actor in several important physiological functions. In the dietary supplement world, inositol has gained considerable traction as an effective treatment for depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and impotence. There’s even evidence that inositol has a chemopreventive effect on lung cancer patients.
Studies show: In a double-blind, controlled, crossover trial of inositol versus fluvoxamine for the treatment of panic disorder, inositol won out handily against the established pharmaceutical. Patients taking inositol had fewer panic attacks, and patients taking fluvoxamine had considerably more side effects, including nausea and exhaustion. Another comprehensive look at existing inositol studies found that four weeks of supplementation offered significant benefits for patients suffering from clinical depression, although purported benefits for autism and ADDH were non-existent. Diabetic patients experiencing impotence may find solace in a study showing that a dual inositol/folic acid supplement was able to improve erectile dysfunction in 176 patients with Type 2 diabetes. There also appears to be potential for inositol supplementation as a treatment for OCD sufferers, but further studies are needed to accurately determine the exact neuronal pathways responsible for the changes. And finally, although further investigation is needed, inositol supplements appear to be safe and well tolerated as potential chemopreventives for lung cancer patients.
Why I like it: Inositol is already found in nature, and our bodies even manufacture it, so the extensive research on its safety and efficacy is enough to convince me that supplementation is both useful and harmless. It’s been favorably compared to potent pharmaceuticals, so anyone looking to minimize pill intake might find inositol useful. And finally, it is an essential nutrient that plays an important role in regulating a healthy mind and body.
This is why I include Inositol in the Master Formula and why my family and I take it every day.
Article by: Mark Sisson