What are the myo-inositol effects on PCOS?

Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal disorder that affects women of reproductive age and commonly impacts ovarian function.

If you, or a woman you know, have PCOS then you know how difficult it can be to manage the symptoms.

In this post we discuss the Myo-Inositol Effects on PCOS.

PCOS can be managed by treatment in the form of prescription medications, lifestyle changes, and natural remedies. One way to treat PCOS symptoms is through the use of Myo-inositol, otherwise referred to as the vitamin B8. 

To better understand the Myo-inositol effects on PCOS, let’s break down the ways that PCOS affects the body, the Myo-Inositol supplement, and finally how the supplement interacts with the body.

How PCOS Affects a Woman’s Body

As a hormonal disorder, PCOS can affect not only a woman’s reproductive system but also other areas of her body. Potential causes for PCOS might include excess insulin, low-grade inflammation, heredity, weight gain, or excess androgen. 

While the exact cause of PCOS is unknown, doctors can diagnose the condition based on physical and noticeable symptoms. Signs usually develop and appear around the first menstrual cycle during puberty. 

A diagnosis of PCOS is made when two of the following signs are exhibited:

  • Irregular periods – menstrual cycles that are irregular, prolonged or infrequent; this might look like fewer than nine periods in a year, more than 35 days between periods, or abnormally heavy periods.
  • Excess androgen – this is typically believed to be the male sex hormone but it naturally exists in women as well; excess androgen will show up in physical signs like excess facial hair, male-pattern baldness, and severe acne. 
  • Polycystic ovaries – when the ovaries are enlarged and have follicles around the eggs; because of these follicles, ovaries might fail to function properly.

Women with PCOS might not know that they have the condition until they try to conceive because PCOS impacts a woman’s chemical system and hormone production, limiting the ovaries’ ability to release eggs into the fallopian tubes. 

What is Myo-Inositol?

Myo-Inositol is one of the naturally occurring vitamin-like versions of Inositol. In addition to Myo-Inositol, D-Chiro-Inositol is also a common supplement. 

Inositol, often called vitamin B8, is a pseudo vitamin substance and performs major bodily functions associated with vitamin B8. 

Inositol is a major component of cell membranes so its existence in the body supports body structure and overall function. It has been found to influence insulin action and has an effect on chemicals in the brain such as serotonin and dopamine. 

According to WebMD, Inositol is largely used to regulate metabolic syndrome and PCOS because it can balance the body’s chemicals. Because it has these chemical interactions, Inositol can also affect mental conditions and has shown promising effects for people with panic disorder, depression, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. 

While Inositol is found to naturally occur in foods like grains, nuts, beans, and fruits, and your body produces Inositol after consuming carbohydrates, taking the Myo-Inositol supplement can more effectively moderate the symptoms of PCOS by chemically forcing the body to produce fewer androgens.

Managing PCOS with Myo-Inositol

How you use Myo-Inositol for PCOS will depend on which symptoms and conditions you are hoping to address in taking the medication. Myo-Inositol can also be used to manage weight gain from PCOS, for fertility treatments, for managing hirsutism, to reduce acne, for mental health, and general metabolic health. 

To help, you’ll need to monitor your dosage differently depending on whether or not you are addressing fertility or one of the other options. 

For example, if you have PCOS and you are trying to get pregnant, odds are you may have trouble conceiving because, as studies find, 75% of women with PCOS have trouble becoming pregnant. 

Therefore, if you are looking to improve your fertility, you will want to take Myo-Inositol alone rather than the commonly packaged 40:1 mixtures of Myo-Inositol and D-Chiro-Inositol. Myo-Inositol has also been shown to improve fertility better than commonly prescribed metformin.

When it comes to fertility, studies have found that taking 2000 mg of Myo-Inositol plus 200 μg of a folic acid supplement (the most prominent supplement in prenatal and prepregnancy supplements) twice daily for at least three months will:

  • Reduce AMH levels and reduce polycystic ovaries (Ozay et al., 2016)
  • Increased egg quality (Papaleo et al., 2009)
  • Reduced risk of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (the overproduction of eggs by the ovaries) for those women who were undergoing ovulation induction (Ciotta et al., 2011)

However, if you’re looking to manage PCOS symptoms and you are not concerned with fertility, you can consider a mixture of Myo-Inositol and D-Chiro-Inositol or work with your general practitioner to see if Metformin would work for you.  

Widespread Myo-Inositol Effects on PCOS

When taking Myo-Inositol, you might notice that your menstrual cycle is more regular than normal. Because the supplement regulates the chemical release of androgens, the menstrual cycle will be less restricted by an influx of androgens and instead allow for more regular release of eggs from the ovaries. 

When taking the supplement as recommended, regularly, and in conjunction with folic acid and IVF, you might also see an increase in fertility rates within 12 months of taking the supplement. Be mindful that while folic acid in addition to Myo-Inositol is beneficial for fertility, it is best to find a Myo-Inositol supplement that is 100% Myo-Inositol as other concentrations were found to provide inaccurate labelling.

For insulin resistance, D-Chiro-Inositol can improve insulin sensitivity in non-ovarian tissues and Myo-Inositol improves insulin sensitivity and specifically targets the ovaries. 

Myo-Inositol might help with the annoying side effects of PCOS. It slightly improves hirsutism, the excessive growth of hair, because lower insulin levels mean lower androgen production overall. 

In this same way, the lowered insulin and androgen levels can improve acne. However, what has been most effective at resolving excessive hair growth and acne is a PCOS diet in addition to Myo-Inositol. 

While getting rid of symptoms like excessive hair growth and acne will also reduce anxiety and depression around a PCOS, Inositol has been shown to improve the mental health of individuals without PCOS. Whether you have PCOS or not, you may find that your mental health improved after taking Myo-Inositol. 

Myo-inositol effects on PCOS

While not a cure-all method, Myo-Inositol can be effective at mitigating most of the PCOS symptoms. Upon regular ingestion of a pure Myo-Inositol concentrate, you might notice more stable insulin levels and lower androgen production, which would improve overall energy, reduce acne, reduce excessive hair growth, and regulate the menstrual cycle. 

Negative side effects are minimal and often not reported, but mild side effects might include slight nausea, gas, headache, tiredness, dizziness, and difficulty sleeping. 

As always, discuss with your doctor the treatment method that is right for you. If you want to learn more about Myo-Inositol effects on PCOS, contact Inositol Australia for more guidance. 

Resources:

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Ciotta, L., Stracquadanio, M., Pagano, I., Carbonaro, A., Palumbo, M., & Gulino, F. (2011). Effects of myo-inositol supplementation on oocyte’s quality in PCOS patients: a double blind trial. Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci, 15(5), 509-14. Retrieved August 25, 2020

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Monastra, G., Unfer, V., Harrath, A. H., & Bizzarri, M. (2017). Combining treatment with myo-inositol and D-chiro-inositol (40: 1) is effective in restoring ovary function and metabolic balance in PCOS patients. Gynecological Endocrinology, 33(1), 1-9. Retrieved August 25, 2020

Ozay, A. C., Emekci Ozay, O., Okyay, R. E., Cagliyan, E., Kume, T., & Gulekli, B. (2016). Different effects of myoinositol plus folic acid versus combined oral treatment on androgen levels in PCOS women. International journal of endocrinology, 2016. Retrieved August 25, 2020

Palatnik, A., Frolov, K., Fux, M., & Benjamin, J. (2001). Double-blind, controlled, crossover trial of inositol versus fluvoxamine for the treatment of panic disorder. Journal of clinical psychopharmacology, 21(3), 335-339. Retrieved August 25, 2020

Papaleo, E., Molgora, M., Quaranta, L., Pellegrino, M., & De Michele, F. (2011). Myo-inositol products in polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) treatment: quality, labeling accuracy, and cost comparison. Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci, 15(2), 165-74. Retrieved August 25, 2020

Papaleo, E., Unfer, V., Baillargeon, J. P., Fusi, F., Occhi, F., & De Santis, L. (2009). Myo-inositol may improve oocyte quality in intracytoplasmic sperm injection cycles. A prospective, controlled, randomized trial. Fertility and sterility, 91(5), 1750-1754. Retrieved August 25, 2020

Smart Fertility Choices. Taking Inositol for PCOS: 15 Things You Must Know First Retrieved August 24, 2020

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