top of page

Inositol and PCOS

By Amber Charles-Alexis, MSPH, RDN

June 7, 2021

Inositol is a popular nutraceutical therapy for the management of PCOS. This article explains what inositol is, its function and potential role in mitigating negative symptoms of PCOS.

What is inositol | Types | Function | Role in PCOS | Risks | Takeaway

Picture: Wix, stock image

What is inositol?

Inositol is a family of 9 compounds found in the body and throughout nature (1, 2, 3).

In the body, inositol is made from glucose when phosphate sugar-containing compounds, such as phosphatidylinositol (PI) are broken down (2).

In women, some inositol is found in the ovaries and follicular fluid (3).

Inositol is also found in a variety of foods, including fresh fruits and vegetables, grains, meat, fish, eggs, milk, and their food products (2, 3).

On average, 500-700 mg of inositol is obtained from food per day, and up to 4g per day is made in the body (3).

However, the natural production of inositol is reduced in women with PCOS.

(Read the blog: Understanding PCOS and the role of nutrition if you're unfamiliar with PCOS).

What are the types of inositol?

Two of the nine inositol compounds are of prime interest for PCOS for their roles in insulin action (4, 5).

Myo-inositol (MI) is the most prevalent form of inositol in nature, while D-chiro-inositol (DCI) – which is made from myo-inositol – is found in lower quantities (2, 3, 6).

For instance, in the blood plasma, these two inositol compounds are found in a 40:1 MI to DCI ratio, and even up to 100:1 in the follicular fluid in the uterus (3, 6).

Despite their similar chemical structu