Inositol hexaphosphate, sometimes called vitamin B-8 or simply IP6, is a chemical found in a number of foods, including beans, grains, nuts and seeds. IP6 is also sold over-the-counter as a dietary supplement to treat depression and as an antioxidant and cancer prevention agent. Like any substance, IP6 can have side effects.
Minor Side Effects
IP6 appears to have few actual side effects, although some effects are reported more often than others. Some effects occur commonly with all medications, and may be reported as side effects simply because they're common occurrences, eMedTV reports. Stomach disturbances such as nausea, gas, flatulence or stomach upset may occur. Other common side effects include headache, dizziness and fatigue.
IP6 could increase the risk of bleeding in people taking blood-thinning medication such as aspirin or anticoagulants such as warfarin. A laboratory study reported in the September-October issue of "Anticancer Research" conducted by the University of Maryland School of Medicine found that IP6 inhibited platelet aggregation in blood removed from healthy volunteers. If you take medications that prevent blood clotting, talk with your doctor before taking IP6.
Vitamin and Mineral Absroption
IP6 may interfere with the body's ability to absorb certain vitamins and minerals, including calcium, copper, iron, magnesium and zinc, according to Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. Decreased mineral absorption could result in mineral and vitamin deficiencies. This concern has been raised mostly in cases of IP6 given to infants, the American Cancer Society states.
Although IP6 is sometimes used to treat depression and has been tried as a supplement to treat bipolar disorder along with psychiatric conditions such as obsessive-compulsive disorder, several cases of worsening bipolar disorder or a new onset of hypomania have occurred in people taking IP6. A letter to the June 1996 issue of "American Journal of Psychiatry" by practitioners from Tel Aviv University, reported two cases of people with depression who developed hypomania and a third diagnosed with bipolar disorder whose symptoms worsened after taking IP6. It's not clear, researchers stated, whether the IP6 or the combination of IP6 and other medications caused the effects. If you are currently being treated for any psychiatric disorder, do not take IP6 without your medical practitioner's approval