Inositol is also known as vitamin B-8. Some of its properties might promote weight loss, but there is no scientific evidence to support this. Inositol does, however, affect fats in the liver and heart and it has no severe side effects, so using it as part of a weight loss regimen can’t hurt and might possibly help.
When consumed in combination with other B complex vitamins, inositol helps your liver break down fats in the body, which is how it got its reputation for aiding weight loss. When taken in combination with choline, inositol forms lecithin and lecithin is known to fight fat. It is also a lipotropic agent, so inositol also might redistribute existing body fat during weight loss. When taken before bedtime, theoretically it might help your body burn fat while you sleep.
Inositol is not an essential nutrient because your body makes it from glucose in ample quantities. However, coffee, alcohol, water, estrogen and sulfa drugs can all lower your levels. If you want to restore your levels to assist weight loss, foods that are rich in this substance include bananas, brown rice, nuts, raisins, whole grains, beans, cantaloupe and peanuts. Liver is an extremely good source of inositol. Inositol is also a component of most multivitamins and is available in supplement form.
For best results, take inositol in combination with vitamins containing choline. The Online Vitamin Database suggests a supplemental dosage of 250 to 500 milligrams a day in adults. While there's not enough research to recommend the most effective dosage, the NYU Langone Medical Center notes that inositol is generally safe, even when taken in large doses.
Reported side effects of taking extra inositol include cramping and diarrhea, but no serious problems have been identified from short-term use. However, it's not yet known whether inositol is safe for pregnant women, as well as people suffering from kidney or liver disease, explains NYU. Inositol might increase the risk of manic episodes in people with bipolar disorder, so it should not be taken for people with this condition except under medical supervision.
The website Healthy.net warns that some research has indicated a possible link between inositol and manic episodes, so if you suffer from bipolar disorder, do not take inositol supplements without first speaking with your doctor. Healthy.net also reports that inositol's safety in children, pregnant or nursing women and those with kidney or liver disease has not yet been determined.