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Inositol has gone viral! You may have seen social media influencers talking about an inositol supplement called Ovasitol for their menstrual cycles, ovarian health, fertility, and even weight loss. Could inositol supplements help you lose weight? Are they safe to take when you’re hypothyroid? Ahead, a look at these crucial questions.
Inositol is a sugar formed in the body and found in certain foods, including fruits, beans, grains, and nuts. The job of inositol is to help facilitate communications between cells in response to hormones and neurotransmitters.
There are nine different forms of inositol, but myo-inositol and D-chiro-inositol are the best-studied and most commonly used forms of this nutrient.
Interestingly, the myo-inositol form of inositol used to be considered part of the vitamin B family and was called Vitamin B8.
More recently, researchers have found that inositol can help combat metabolic syndrome and insulin resistance, improve insulin sensitivity, and support healthy carbohydrate and glucose metabolism. These findings have increased the interest in using inositol to help with weight loss and weight management.
Here at the Paloma blog, we’ve discussed how myo-inositol specifically can help improve hormone balance, reduce thyroid antibody levels, and improve sensitivity to TSH in Hashimoto’s patients.
People with thyroid dysfunction are also at higher risk of insulin resistance and metabolic disorders. These conditions, in addition to a slowed metabolism characteristic of an underactive thyroid, make it easier to gain weight and harder to lose.
This is where myo-inositol comes in. It turns out that depletion of inositol is more common in hypothyroidism. Research published in 2020 reported that patients with hypothyroidism have a “higher demand for myo-inositol” compared to healthy subjects.
The good news is that recent studies on inositol supplementation – specifically, the combination of myo-inositol and D-chiro-inositol – have been promising in terms of the potential to support a healthy weight loss program.
A 2021 study looked at the effects of myo-inositol supplementation on body mass index (BMI). The study showed that inositol supplementation significantly decreased BMI. Specifically, myo-inositol may help with weight loss in several ways:
- By supporting and balancing thyroid function
- By Improving sensitivity to thyroid hormone
- By reducing insulin resistance and lowering blood sugar levels
- By reducing the increases in insulin after glucose intake
- By lowering insulin levels, and maintaining lower levels after weight loss, reduces the risk of rebound weight gain
One clinical study from 2016 found that patients on myo-inositol supplementation had a “significant reduction in blood glucose and HbA1c levels.”
Finally, research has shown that combining myo-inositol and D-chiro-inositol – along with a healthy diet – “seems to accelerate the weight loss and the fat mass reduction with a slight increase of percent lean mass.”
A 2019 study concluded that 2,000 mg of myo-inositol, taken twice daily, is the best dosage to help improve metabolic pathways and support weight loss.
When introducing a new dietary supplement, it’s always a good idea to check with your healthcare provider to ensure it’s safe for you and won’t interfere with treatment for your thyroid condition. That said, the FDA has designated inositol as “generally recognized as safe” (GRAS).
Inositol has no expected side effects when taken at a recommended dose of 4,000 mg daily.
There are occasional reports of nausea or stomach upset, primarily from those using high doses (above 4,000 mg a day) of inositol daily. Our Paloma blog has other essential tips and cautions if you are thinking about adding inositol to your daily supplement plan.
For the best results, it’s recommended that you take inositol supplements apart from your thyroid medication. The reason? Inositol should be taken with food, and experts recommend taking thyroid medication on an empty stomach and then waiting at least an hour before eating for the best absorption.
Keep in mind that inositol does not provide immediate gratification! It typically takes at least three months of daily use to notice significant benefits. You’ll need to stick with it for a while to learn whether this supplement will benefit you.
Difficulty losing weight is a common complaint of hypothyroid patients. But, as with any hypothyroidism symptom, the first and most essential step for anyone with hypothyroidism is to get optimal treatment for your underactive thyroid. You can start by working with a thyroid-savvy Paloma practitioner, who will develop a customized thyroid treatment approach to help you optimize your thyroid and resolve your hypothyroidism symptoms.
It’s also crucial to be well-informed. For more information on weight loss for people with hypothyroidism, check out our articles here on the Paloma Blog:
- How to Lose Weight With Hypothyroidism
- Will Treating Hypothyroidism Help Me Lose Weight?
- How Long After Starting Thyroid Medication Will I Lose Weight?
You can also find information on prescription drugs and whether thyroid patients should use them for weight loss in Paloma blog articles on:
Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN)