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Nutrilife MYO Inositol-Choline

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8 Inositol Benefits1. Effectively Treats PCOS and Improves Fertility

The most well-known and thoroughly researched benefit of inositol is its ability to treat polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). PCOS is a very common syndrome that may affect up to 21 percent of women in a given population. Some reports find that as many as 72 percent of women who have PCOS have experienced some form of infertility versus about 16 percent of women without PCOS. (4)

For diagnosis, the three main features of PCOS are hyperandrogenism, oligomenorrhea and polycystic ovaries. Hyperandrogenism is an excess of male hormones, which commonly causes a combination of acne, skin issues, scalp hair loss, increased body or facial hair (known as hirsutism) and an elevated sex drive. When your doctor mentions “oligomenorrhea,” he or she is simply referring to a condition of infrequent periods. Finally, a woman with polycystic ovaries has at least one ovary with 12 or more cysts.

PCOS is also closely associated with metabolic syndrome — about twice as many of the PCOS population have metabolic syndrome than the general population (about half of women with PCOS are clinically obese). Women with PCOS are at a four times greater risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, and somewhat higher risks of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, sleep apnea, dyslipidemia (high levels of cholesterol and/or high triglycerides), heart disease and mood disorders. (5)

There have been at least 14 high-quality human trials testing the benefits of inositol for PCOS. A 2016 review of 12 of these randomized, controlled trials found that this supplement “is capable of restoring spontaneous ovulation and improving fertility in women with PCOS,” both when using myo-inositol on its own (the most common method) or in combination with D-chiro-inositol.

Study authors pointed out that no relevant side effects occurred, even when the two forms were combined. It was also noted that ratios of 40:1 of myo-inositol to D-chiro-inositol helped to relieve “metabolic aberrations of PCOS,” which typically include issues with blood pressure, triglycerides and cholesterol, as well as restoring ovulation. (6)

On its own, D-chiro-inositol increases insulin activity in polycystic ovarian syndrome patients, which also may be one way this compound improves ovulation. This form is also associated with decreases in cholesterol, triglycerides and blood pressure and may be the form of this supplement most capable of reducing hyperandrogenism. (7, 8)

Typically, the dosage of myo-inositol for PCOS ranges from 1,500 milligrams per day to 4,000 milligrams per day. Some evidence suggests that the larger dose is more effective. (9) If taking alongside D-chiro-inositol, most studies suggest a 40:1 ratio, meaning 100 milligrams per day of D-chiro-inositol to 4,000 milligrams of myo-inositol.

2. May Combat Mental Illness

Because of its interaction with the central nervous system and neurotransmitter pathways, inositol has demonstrated possible effectiveness against certain types of mental illness. Since the true effect of most medications prescribed for mental illness is only about 10 percent–20 percent (and they come with a ton of undesirable side effects), natural alternatives to psychiatric drugs are an important part of future research in the mental health field.

It has been found to be effective in small human trials for:

Depression (10, 11, 12)Panic disorder (13, 14)Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) (11)Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) (15)Anxiety (16)

When treating patients with depression symptoms, researchers found in one study that 6,000 milligrams per day “led to major improvement” in over 90 percent of participants. (10) In a follow-up to that first trial, scientists reported that subjects treated with inositol had an improvement in depression scores about three times more than those on placebo (11.8 points versus four). An “official improvement” is considered a decrease in 15 points, which was achieved by twice as many patients on the supplement than those on placebo. (12)

During this follow-up trial, patients with manic depression (also known as bipolar disorder) treated with it had no manic episodes, which was significant, although larger-scale trials have confirmed that it seems to have little significant effect on manic depression symptoms.

Another depression trial stated that the improvements for patients on inositol was similar to those on fluvoxamine and fluoxetine (two popular SSRIs for depression). (11)

For panic disorder, inositol outperformed fluvoxamine (also commonly prescribed for this condition) in one study by almost double in reducing the number of panic attacks per week — without side effects. (13)

Results are somewhat mixed in regards to depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder treated by inositol — both have been seen to have no statistically significant effects in some analyses, while others have the opposite result. (17, 18)

While it may not be useful for reducing symptoms of manic depression (bipolar disorder), for patients taking lithium, inositol may help reduce psoriasis symptoms, a common side effect of that medication. However, it does not affect psoriasis caused by factors other than lithium use. (19)

3. May Be Beneficial in Cancer Treatment

Certain forms have been researched for their connection with cancer treatment and relief. While there is still not research to suggest that it is definitely an effective natural cancer treatment, it’s possible that some inositol-containing foods may help fight cancer — or, at least, help patients during treatment.

Combining myo-inositol and another version, IP6 (also known as inositol hexaphosphate, phytic acid or phytate), may have anticancer effects and potentially improve the cancer-killing action of chemotherapy, according to a 2003 pilot study published in The Journal of Nutrition. The authors state:

IP6 plus inositol enhances the anticancer effect of conventional chemotherapy, controls cancer metastases, and improves the quality of life, as shown in a pilot clinical trial. The data strongly argue for the use of IP6 plus inositol in our strategies for cancer prevention and treatment.

They also point out the need for “phase I and phase II clinical trials in humans,” which have not be completed as of this writing. (20)

Another review, published in 2009, agrees that, “There is clearly enough evidence to justify the initiation of full-scale clinical trials in humans.” (21)

Regarding specific types of cancer, myo-inositol (at large doses like 18 grams per day) may protect against smoking-induced lung cancer. (22) In rats, IP6 suppresses colon cancer, even when cancer was induced a full five months before the treatment ever began. (23, 24)

The inositol and inositol-signaling systems in the body seem to play a large part in many types of cancer progression in both animal and human models. While only one of these (colon cancer) has been specifically proven to be slowed, stopped or reversed with supplementation, the function of it within the body is closely intertwined with the development of breast, colon and prostate cancer. (25, 26, 27)

One point to note here, though, is that phytic acid (IP6) is considered an antinutrient when consumed regularly, as it interferes with nutrient absorption.

What’s an antinutrient? A nutrient causes growth and life, but antinutrients cause death. In regards to cancer, it’s possible phytic acid/IP6 along with myo-inositol (which is a sugar alcohol) may function in a more symbiotic way like chemotherapy does with glucose. Some scientists have suggested that manipulating glucose intake and even delivering it alongside chemotherapy may help to target the “antinutrient” chemicals of chemotherapy because of the way cancer feeds on sugar. (28) This doesn’t mean you should eat loads of foods containing phytic acid if you have cancer, though. Nutrient absorption is very important for your body to fight any disease; IP6 administration in cancer should only occur under the supervision of a doctor.

The good news is that high-inositol foods are often known to be cancer-fighting foods for other reasons. However, take caution in eating foods high in phytic acid (like beans and sprouts) and soak them to decrease the phytic acid content before you eat them to avoid digestive issues.

4. Could Improve Insulin Sensitivity in Diabetes

Inositol definitely seems to decrease insulin resistance in PCOS patients, but does it do the same thing for diabetics?

When describing the relationship between insulin resistance and inositol, writers at a popular supplement information website explain: (29)

In pretty much all instances where insulin resistance is present, there is an increased urinary excretion of inositol metabolites… Due to this information, it is thought that persons who are insulin resistant are in a state of relative inositol deficiency due to an increased excretion rate.

Basically, this means the body’s lack of inositol seems to be closely related to insulin resistance. This includes insulin resistance caused by diabetes, PCOS and even preeclampsia. (30)

Limited clinical studies have been done to see how inositol could reverse diabetes. However, in rats, Rhesus monkeys and humans, there is preliminary evidence that D-chiro-inositol supplementation may help restore insulin sensitivity in diabetes. (31, 32)

5. May Reduce Chances of Gestational Diabetes

While there isn’t definitive evidence yet about inositol and Type 2 diabetes, clinical reviews have found that: (33)

On the basis of current evidence, myo-inositol supplementation reduces the development of gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM), although this conclusion requires further evaluation in large-scale, multicenter, blinded randomized controlled trials.

6. Combats Metabolic Syndrome

For certain women (even those who do not have PCOS), it seems possible that myo-inositol could be beneficial in treating metabolic syndrome. In particular, postmenopausal women who have or are at risk for this condition may greatly profit from supplementing with it, according to a 2011 study involving 80 women. (34) However, it is not clear whether or not it may help you lose weight, although it does positively affect many factors related to obesity and weight.

7. Possible Therapy in Eating Disorders

Although research is currently limited, a pilot study in 2001 found positive results when supplementing with inositol in subjects suffering from bulimia nervosa, a common eating disorder, and binge eating. At a very large dose (18 grams per day), it outperformed the placebo, improving scores on all three basic eating disorder rating scales. The study authors suggested this result may have occurred because of its mood-altering effect, as these conditions have a lot in common as far as emotional symptoms are concerned. (35)

8. Improves Symptoms of Respiratory Distress Syndrome in Infants

Premature babies are often born with a condition known as neonatal respiratory distress syndrome (RDS). Infants with this condition have underdeveloped lungs and struggle to breathe. There are a few known causes, but it’s most common in babies born before the 37–39 week window and is also more of a risk when mothers are diabetic; delivery is via Cesarean section or induced labor; the child has siblings who were born with RDS; there is blood flow restriction to the baby during delivery; the mother has multiples in pregnancy (twins, etc.) or the labor and delivery occur very rapidly. (36)

In a trial comparing 221 infants, those given inositol at a dosage of 80 milligrams per kilogram of weight each day needed less external oxygen and airway pressure than those on placebo. The survival rate of those taking it was 71 percent versus 55 percent on placebo.

The conclusion? Administering inositol to premature babies with RDS can help to increase survival rates and reduce the development of both bronchopulmonary dysplasia (a chronic lung condition that sometimes occurs as a result of RDS) and another common disorder, retinopathy of prematurity (ROP), which can lead to blindness in some cases. (37)

It’s important to note that this study referred specifically to inositol given intravenously by a physician, not in food or supplement form.

9. Possibly Lowers Some PMS Symptoms

Over six menstrual cycles, a dose of 12 grams of inositol powder or 3.6 grams of topically applied gel helped patients in one study to reduce the dysphoria and depression associated with PMS. (38) As this is reflected in the meta-analysis confirming that it seems to be effective in reducing depressive symptoms of PMDD (a severe form of PMS), these results suggest that it may be a good option for those with consistent emotional complications of PMS. (15)

However, inositol is not known to reduce other PMS symptoms like cramps or digestive trouble.

Health Benefits of Choline1. Forms DNA and Cell Structures

Choline helps the body to absorb fat, and fats are then used to create cell membranes and structures. Without enough choline in the body, our cells cannot properly withhold their structure and signal messages to other parts of the body. (7)

What is choline’s role in gene expression and DNA? Choline is needed to create DNA that is responsible for building out entire body structure. Choline and folate are known to be key nutrients involved in the methyl group processes, which the body uses to form genetic material that helps build every system within the body.

2. Supports Central Nervous System

One of the main benefits of choline is that it is used by the body in a variety of ways that are crucial for nerve functioning, including aiding in nerve signaling and maintaining the membranes of brain cells.

Choline also helps form tissue within the nervous system that plays a part in brain development and growth. It’s believed that choline can improve signaling capacity of nerves, support their structural integrity, and protect vital neuronal membranes. (8)

Choline acts like a precursor to certain important neurotransmitters, including acetylcholine, which is used in healthy nerve and muscle function. Neurotransmitters are chemical symptoms of communication used throughout the body constantly to relay information from system to system.

The neurotransmitter acetylcholine specifically plays a part in memory and learning, so a choline deficiency can result in poor concentration, poor memory, mood changes and other cognitive impairments, especially as someone ages. Acetylcholine is formed when an acetate molecule combines with a choline molecule, so without enough choline present in the body, this molecule cannot be properly produced and brain function can suffer. (9)

3. Maintains Healthy Liver Function

Choline is needed to properly transport fat from the liver to cells throughout the body. A benefit of choline is cleansing the liver because choline is partially responsible for keeping the liver clear from fat build-up that can accumulate and cause harm. Choline plays a part in transporting both cholesterol and triglycerides, two forms of important fats, from the liver to other parts of the body where they are needed.

In people who have low levels of choline present within their body, some studies have found that they are more at risk for experiencing liver damage and even liver failure. (10) Choline also helps form LDL cholesterol within the liver, and even though LDL is considered the “bad” kind of cholesterol, a certain level is still needed for healthy functioning — without enough, the body will suffer by storing fat in the liver.

4. Helps Protect Memory and Loss of Brain Function

Another one of the benefits of choline is its ability to keep your mind mentally sharp as you age. Because it’s a component of cell membranes and neurotransmitters that are used in nerve signaling, choline also plays a role in preserving memory and preventing dementia, memory loss and other signs of cognitive decline as someone becomes older.

As we age, our brain becomes less elastic. Choline does an important job of maintaining brain elasticity by working to maintain levels of acetylcholine, which naturally declines into old age.

Some studies point to the fact that low levels of acetylcholine may lead to cognitive decline, including Alzheimer’s disease and senile dementia. (11) Patients who develop Alzheimer’s at times show very low levels of acetylcholine, and some medications used to treat Alzheimer’s actually mimic choline’s effect of increasing this neurotransmitter’s effects.

5. Can Help with Exercise Performance and Muscle Function

Choline helps to improve mental energy, focus and concentration, which are all important for physical activity and athletic performance. It’s believed that choline’s effect on your metabolism and neurotransmitters in the brain can produce quicker reaction times and cut down on the amount of time needed for mental processing. (12)

Choline may also be helpful in improving energy levels, your mood, sleep cycles and recovery time following strenuous activity. Additionally, choline is used in muscle nerve functioning and may be useful in preventing fatigue and muscle aches or pains following exercise. Every time a muscle moves within the body, choline is needed to activate the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which sends chemical signals to muscles and makes them mobile.

6. May Help Maintain Heart Health

Choline and folate assist in the conversion of homocysteine, which prevents the body from accumulating too much fat and may be beneficial in cutting down on the risk of having a heart attack or stroke. (13) Homocysteine is an amino acid that enters the body from protein sources, normally meat, and high levels of homocysteine have been correlated with development of heart and blood vessel diseases.

Some studies have shown that choline and lecithin can help to reduce blood cholesterol and risk for heart disease, but different studies have yielded inconsistent results, so more research is still needed before doctors will begin to prescribe choline for its ability to lower LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and trigylcerides. (14)

7. Supports a Healthy Pregnancy

Choline belongs in a pregnancy diet. Why? Pregnant women need even more choline than anyone else because choline is rapidly used by fetuses while their brains, cell structures and nerve channels are forming. Some studies even show that when a fetus obtains more choline, they have a better chance of later having healthy, sharp brain functioning and a lower risk of brain abnormalities. (15) Other studies show that pregnant women with a low blood level of choline have been shown to be at a higher risk for having children with neural tube defects and developmental problems.

Choline is also naturally found in breast milk since it’s important for a newborn’s growth and proper development. This is the reason it’s added to most infant formulas. Neuron synapses are being formed in the brain of fetuses and infants at a very rapid rate, so choline plays a major part in helping to build the foundation of the brain’s structure. (16)

Choline is also important during pregnancy because of its relationship with folate. Choline, folate and B vitamins all work together to keep levels of one another in check. Choline is one of the methyl donors in the body — which means that when folate, a vital nutrient needed for fetal development, is low, that choline is able to help fill in and carry out body functions where folate is needed but is missing.

8. Important for Children’s Growth and Development

Neuron plasticity refers to the brain’s ability to build new neuron connections, and choline is thought to be very important for supporting brain elasticity and plasticity. (17)

As children grow older, choline is needed to help develop brain function since it plays a role in learning, remembering, logical thinking and concentration abilities. Children need to acquire choline to form neurotransmitters channels in their brain that will help with information retention, verbal abilities, creative thinking, mathematical skills, social cues, and more. (18)

In fact, choline is needed for forming new brain connections between neurons called synapses, which is the chemical reaction needed for memories to actually form in the brain. Some reports even show that choline can help prevent learning disabilities, including ADHD, and can improve concentration in children and teens.

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