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Can Inositol Help Reverse Depression?

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Over the years, alternative health care practitioners have been advocating a variety of herbs and nutrients for the treatment of depression. One of the nutrients which is widely consumed by depressed individuals is inositol.

Inositol is a simple molecule and used by the body to make important components of the cell membrane. Products made from inositol are believed to play a vital role in signaling events in the body. Most individuals get adequate levels of inositol from food and no one has ever been identified as having inositol deficiency. Further, there is no relationship between depression and inositol levels in the body.

Inositol is readily available in most health food stores without a prescription and recommended for the treatment of a variety of mental disorders, including depression. Because many depressed patients take a number of health supplements and other products, it has been difficult to evaluate the role of inositol. Of course, as with all supplements, the vendors of inositol claim it is a miracle product. As far as consumers are concerned, there are a few anecdotal reports of inositol and depression. The majority of depressed individuals claim that the supplement does nothing.

In the past few years, four double blind trials have evaluated 141 depressed individuals who took inositol. Inositol was compared with an antidepressant or a placebo.

The results?

The results did not show any evidence that inositol had antidepressant activity. Even though most of these studies were of short duration and the sampling population was small, inositol turned out to be just another hyped-up supplement. The only good thing to come of the trials was that the supplement was safe and not associated with any side effects.

So where does the individual with depression stand?

Like many nutrients and herbs, inositol has failed to live up to expectations when it is properly evaluated in clinical studies. Nevertheless, the health supplement industry continues to market the product for many illnesses. A month’s supply of inositol is about $30. For those who are depressed and do not have money to spare, forget inositol and spend your money wisely on something that works. For those who are depressed and have money, cherries are in season - go eat some.

Add a Comment16 Comments

EmpowHER Guest

I think it's obvious he's getting paid by Big Pharma for dis-info articles. It's so sad what this world has come to. Lets get the message out on Inositol! It Saved MY LIFE! (You need high dose 12 - 18 grams/day)

March 13, 2014 - 9:14am
EmpowHER Guest

It definitely works and is highly benificial in many ways as well. Amazing sense of well being, serenity, and finding your good old long lost true self again.... 1.3 grams (1300 mg) per day is $30'year when stocking up from Swanson.

December 5, 2012 - 10:52pm
EmpowHER Guest

This is ridiculous. Within 10 seconds I found an article:
with results indicating that inositol DOES have efficacy in treating depression. I don't understand why there are so many mindless idiots around who feel the need to try and discredit things even if there is absolutely no evidence to back up what they are saying.

August 1, 2012 - 5:05am

i will be the first to agree that many drugs have adverse side effects. secondly, we are no finding that some drugs approved previously were not effective and the side effects were hidden- because the docs were paid by the pharmaceutical companies. However, when i report about inositol, my job is to provide an overview and give consumers details about the current literature. If it works, i am happy for you. but you also have to understand that many supplements have never ever been clinically tested.

December 28, 2011 - 9:17am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Shamir Benji)

Well then maybe you should do your job and actually do some research rather than writing an article containing nothing but uninformed opinions and speculation. I'm not exaggerating, that link that I posted, I found it on the second page of google results for "inositol for depression" and took me about 10 seconds.

August 1, 2012 - 5:07am
EmpowHER Guest

I have taken 12g-18g daily for the last 3 weeks and improved tremendously. It has worked better than all those SSRI drugs I have taken. I took paxil, zoloft, celexa, luvox and they caused me to have sexual dysfunction, loss of appetite(Not good as i am skinny) increase in anxiety and made me very distant zombie like. Although zoloft did help me a bit it wasnt significant. Now with inositol I noticed improvement within a week and my panic attacks dropped from 10 a day to 1-3 a week. I am not vigilant or on edge, I have stopped depending on xanax and valium as much...only for presentations now.

Its up to you to decide if it works...everyone is different and dont always believe what you read including what I have because even though it helps me...it might not in your case so its just trial and error.

December 26, 2011 - 8:50pm

Who was taking supplemnet Gaba for anxiety and 5-HTP for depression,insomnia,fibromyalgia and weight loss?

January 19, 2011 - 10:10pm
EmpowHER Guest

Your article is off by a mile. First, as the posters above stated there have been credible studies that show inositol does help depression, anxiety and ocd. Secondly there IS a correlation between inositol levels in the body and depression as decreased prefrontal myo-inositol is seen in those w/ major depression. Lastly you say there are a few anecdotal reports of inositol and depression. Wrong again. There are many people who have been helped by this supplement, me included. As an example, go to iherb.com and you'll see much more positive reviews then negative. This supplement can help someone avoid pharmaceutical meds that can potentially do more harm then good so please stop writing biased articles w/ false information.

August 23, 2010 - 11:42pm
EmpowHER Guest

This is a very biased article based on one citation. There *have* been double-blind studies which showed a statistically significant relationship between high-dose inositol and improvement in depression (as well as panic disorder and other mental illnesses). False or biased articles are worse than none at all - for all those looking for a genuine unbiased and scientific review of the evidence, try this article here:


And have the cherries too - they are also good for depression :)

June 22, 2010 - 5:20pm
EmpowHER Guest

"…when it is 'properly' evaluated in clinical studies funded by Big Pharma"

June 3, 2010 - 1:49am
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