Why Myo-inositol is a powerful Fertility Tool for PCOS and More
Women with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) have difficulty with various things due to this condition. It’s harder to keep blood sugar levels in check, harder to control weight and it’s difficult to maintain a regular menstrual cycle. As a result of the menstrual cycle problems it can cause, women with PCOS need to deal with fertility problems.
What is Myo-insositol?
Myo-inositol (MI) is a form of inositol and shouldn’t be confused with d-chiro-inositol (DCI) which is the other form of this sugar. We need inositol to help with cell signals in response to hormones, growth factors, neurotransmitters and more. Our bodies can make a small amount of it per day and it’s essential for us.
The Myo-inositol form was once called Vitamin B8 due to it being so important to us. However, because we can produce it from glucose ourselves, it’s not considered an “essential nutrient”.
Why is Myo-inositol considered good for PCOS and Fertility?
Both forms of inositol are being looked at for their fertility-boosting properties. Inositol is considered an effective treatment for PCOS. It increases your insulin sensitivity which improves ovarian function and reduces hyperandrogenism which can also help your menstruation. There is also some evidence that it can help to reduce metabolic disease in people suffering from PCOS.
Myo-inositol is effective at regularizing the menstrual cycle and it’s an FSH messenger. This means that it helps to regulate the follicular stimulating hormone that’s essential for hormone regulation and the egg release cycle. So it leads to improved egg quality for women with PCOS and can even help those without PCOS.
Women with PCOS or struggling with infertility usually have their MI and DCI levels out of balance. Getting these in check will boost fertility and give the reproductive system a general health boost.
What’s the difference between MI and DCI?
D-chiro-inositol can impair egg quality while Myo-inositol boosts the egg quality instead. Having the right balance is important and an imbalance can damage fertility. A high level of the DCI can trigger an increased level of insulin which leads to MI being concerted into DCI instead. This change cannot be reversed by your body.
To obtain more MI you’ll need to consume it through food or supplements.
Myo-inositol and Insulin
Research into imbalances between MI and DCI have shown that it can lead to sugar metabolism dysregulation. They both have insulin-like properties allowing them to act as messengers for the insulin intracellular pathway leading to an increased insulin sensitivity to improve metabolic and ovulatory functions.
Some research does suggest that taking MI can improve insulin function and that it comes with other health benefits such as helping to lower blood pressure. Taking high doses for an extended time can cause low blood sugar levels, even in people with diabetes.
Those with diabetes, especially type 1, should speak with their doctor about taking a myo-inositol supplement to confirm the safety of this. Every case is different so it’s best to have this discussion with your doctor before taking a high dosage of it. This also lets your doctor know you’re taking something that might alter your insulin levels so your treatment plan can be adjusted accordingly.
What Evidence is that for MI Boosting Fertility?
A double-blind clinical trial from 2009 (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19499845/) discovered that the group taking MI had increased insulin sensitivity which also leads to improved glucose tolerance and decreases glucose-stimulated insulin release. In addition to this, the researchers saw that it had a positive effect on ovulation and other health benefits.
At the same time, a study from 2016 (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27898267/) found that a combined treatment of both MI and DCI was effective for those with PCOS. It was discovered that the combination was effective at restoring metabolic balance and ovary function. Confirming that a MI and DCI balance is critical to fertility.
Meanwhile, a study from 2009 (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18462730/) found that Myo-inositol was useful for improving general fertility. It improved the egg quality and ovulation rates of women with PCOS while also increasing the chance of conception. Similar studies such as one from 2010 (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20712264/) also had similar results. The 2010 study combined MI and folic acid in regards to IVF cycles resulting in pregnancy. That study found the combination improved egg quality and the chance of pregnancy in women with a low egg quality history.
How to get more Myo-inositol from food
Various foods contain MI and you probably already eat quite a few of them. Myo-inositol can be found in many plant-based foods which have the highest natural percentage. Some animal products contain a small amount of this but it’s minimal and difficult to obtain what you need from those foods. Inositol has a table here (https://inositol.com.au/pcos/foods-high-in-inositol/) comparing different natural sources.
You can get Myo-inositol from these foods:
- Fruits (especially oranges and cantaloupe)
- Vegetables (Beans and asparagus are great)
- Orange juice and Grapefruit juice are especially good
- Tinned beans
Fresh versions of these are always higher in MI levels and cooking or freezing fruits and vegetables can reduce their natural inositol levels. Processed versions of foods will contain less natural MI and nutrition labels rarely mention the inositol levels in the food or product. This makes it hard to know how much you’re consuming daily.
The easiest way to get your daily dose of MI is to take a regular supplement. Finding it through your diet is possible but it’s more awkward.