Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder affects between three and five percent of school-age children in the United States, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Its symptoms of inattention, impulsivity and hyperactivity can be difficult to treat. While a variety of options ranging from behavioral therapy to stimulant medications are available, some people seek more natural remedies. The use of supplements such as inositol has been suggested for the disorder; however, research does not support its efficacy.
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Inositol is produced in the body from glucose and is the second highest concentrated of the B vitamin family. Interestingly, drinking coffee can reduce its amount in the body. Inositol naturally occurs in certain foods, such as unprocessed grains, wheat germ, raisins, lima beans, most citrus fruits and some nuts. In the form of phosphatidylinositol, this substance helps to maintain the structure of cell membranes, particularly the intestines, eyes and bone marrow. It is also thought to play some role in the nutrition of brain cells.
Uses of Inositol
Inositol as a supplement has several different uses. It has been used to aid sleep, treat eczema and encourage hair and skin health. Inositol may be used as a supplement for those attempting to lose weight and may be useful in redistributing body fat. It may also be used to reduce cholesterol and as a preventative measure for atherosclerosis; however, no clinical evidence supports its role in cardiovascular health. It has also been used to treat pain and numbness in diabetic patients with nerve damage as well as individuals with multiple sclerosis. As a supplement, around 500 mg of inositol should be taken with other B vitamins, usually lecithin, to maintain the proper balance in the body, according to Dr. Elson M. Haas.
ADHD is characterized by symptoms of poor attention and concentration, impulsive behavior, and hyperactivity. Common symptoms exhibited by children include poor attention to detail, being forgetful or easily distracted, avoiding difficult tasks that require concentration, poor organization and difficulty following instructions. A child with ADHD may also have trouble controlling his behavior, struggling to stay seated, talking quickly, running or jumping constantly, blurting out answers and interrupting others. Genetics and exposure to toxins in utero are possible causes of the disorder.
Use of Inositol to Treat ADHD
A study published in European Neuropsychopharmocology examined the effects of myo-inositol, a oral inositol supplement, in children with ADHD. Children received either myo-inositol or a placebo for eight weeks. The outcome of the study found that children who took myo-inositol showed aggravated symptoms of ADHD, indicating that it is not useful in treating the disorder. No other clinical studies have been published indicating whether or not inositol may be useful in treating ADHD. This substance should not be used without consultation with a doctor.