Inositol for Gestational Diabetes
Going through the ups and downs of a normal pregnancy is challenging at best. This challenge only increases if diagnosed with diabetes for the first time while pregnant. Known as gestational diabetes, a woman can develop diabetes during pregnancy even if they have never been diagnosed as diabetic, pre-diabetic, or having insulin resistance prior to the current diagnosis.
With regular insulin shots and blood sugar checks, type-2 diabetes can be difficult to manage, and controlling it requires a big shift in your lifestyle. A diagnosis for gestational diabetes is not damning, but it does require a woman to seek treatment so that the baby’s and mother’s health are continually protected.
One way that you can potentially prevent and treat gestational diabetes is through Myo-Inositol supplementation, which has been shown to improve insulin resistance in patients with gestational diabetes. If you’ve been recently diagnosed with gestational diabetes, here’s what you need to know to have a healthy pregnancy.
Gestational Diabetes: What You Need to Know
Being diagnosed with diabetes during your pregnancy can be terrifying. Officially referred to as gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM), this condition shows up as high blood sugar during pregnancy, and the condition occurs in between 2% and 10% of annual pregnancies in the U.S.
Gestational diabetes isn’t exactly like type-2 diabetes mellitus. Gestational diabetes is still diabetes, but it is distinctly known for being diagnosed for the first time while pregnant. Unlike type-2 diabetes, this strange phenomenon usually goes away around two weeks after you deliver your baby.
Similar to other types of diabetes, gestational diabetes affects the way that your cells take up glucose or sugar. But getting it under control is necessary so that you and your baby remain healthy and so that you have a smooth delivery. Luckily, this is more than possible.
Symptoms of gestational diabetes aren’t really noticeable, but you might be more thirsty or have to urinate more often. Unfortunately, these can also be side effects of pregnancy, so it can be difficult to know when this is abnormal. Regular doctor’s check-ups will be able to tell you if your blood sugar levels are normal or when intervention is necessary.
You should see a doctor when you first find out you are pregnant. Your doctor can then walk you through all the tests needed to make sure that both you and your baby are healthy.
Causes and Risk Factors for Gestational Diabetes
Unfortunately, researchers aren’t altogether sure why gestational diabetes occurs. Since the body induces a number of hormonal changes, it can be hard to pinpoint the exact cause.
Some risk factors might include:
- Excessive weight (like obesity and a high BMI)
- Not being physically active or eating a healthy diet
- Diabetes in a family member
- Certain ethnicities might be at a greater risk
- If you’ve had gestational diabetes or prediabetes before
- Having polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)
PCOS is one of the most prevalent known risk factors for gestational diabetes. A woman with PCOS is naturally producing higher levels of insulin and might be more likely to be insulin resistant or have a metabolic syndrome.
Effects of Inositol
Luckily, expecting mothers are able to control high blood sugar levels by exercising, eating a healthy diet, and taking medication or supplements, like Myo-Inositol.
Inositol, also known as vitamin B8, is a type of sugar that is naturally produced in our body and found in certain foods. Inositol is classified into two major types, Myo-Inositol and D-chiro-Inositol. Both variations of this supplement can be taken for a number of health benefits and play a vital function in the body’s cell membrane.
In addition to being a positive influence on insulin levels, Inositol may balance out important brain chemicals, such as serotonin and dopamine, and Inositol has been linked to positive results in mental health research (primarily with panic disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, depression, and bipolar disorder).
Inositol improves insulin function and reduces issues related to metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is a group of conditions that might increase the risk of getting a chronic disease, such as heart disease and type-2 diabetes. The five main conditions that are usually associated with metabolic syndrome include:
- High blood sugar
- High blood pressure
- High levels of triglycerides in the blood
- Low “good” HDL cholesterol
- And excess fat in the stomach area
Two grams of Inositol taken twice daily were seen to improve blood pressure and blood sugar, and it was effective at reducing a cohort’s risk of getting a chronic disease. In fact, 20% of the women in one study that tested the efficacy of inositol for metabolic syndrome no longer met the criteria for metabolic syndrome after taking the recommended dosage.
Effectiveness of Inositol in Preventing Gestational Diabetes
Gestational diabetes is potentially preventable, and Inositol may be useful in preventing it from occurring. While more studies are needed to confirm this, Inositol is showing minimal to no negative side effects (especially as it relates to fertility), and the supplement might actually increase a woman’s capability of getting pregnant. So, there is truly no harm in taking Inositol, in conjunction with other recommended lifestyle changes, to proactively treat and/or prevent gestational diabetes.
The limited studies suggest a recommended dosage of 4 grams (or 4,000 milligrams), which is a commonly agreed-upon dosage of Inositol for women with PCOS or fertility. Where dosage differs is the unique combinations.
The studies are altogether positive and show inositol as an effective (50%) treatment in preventing gestational diabetes in overweight women.
Inositol for Gestational Diabetes
If you have been recently diagnosed with gestational diabetes, know that this condition is probably temporary and you will most likely go back to your normal lifestyle after you give birth. However, you will still need to take steps to prevent gestational diabetes from harming your health and your baby.
If you are pregnant or looking to get pregnant and you are concerned that gestational diabetes could occur, consider proactively working on lifestyle changes as a way of preventing gestational diabetes.
Myo-Inositol should supplement your diet, in addition to folic acid, so that you are creating a better internal environment for your pregnancy. Since Myo-Inositol can improve immune function, balance out metabolic risk factors, and regulate hormonal (and ovarian) function, you may find other benefits associated with taking it. For example, you might find that your reproductive system is more balanced, or that your mental function is healthier and more clear.
Consider implementing a moderate physical activity regimen, eating a well-balanced diet (or even a PCOS diet, which targets foods that promote better insulin function), and taking a Myo-Inositol supplement.
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