Myo-inositol is a member of the vitamin B-complex group. It is found in a wide variety of foods including fresh fruits, beans, whole grains and seeds. Myo-inositol has been used in the treatment of diabetic neuropathy, depression, Alzheimer’s disease, panic disorder and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
Myo-inositol is taken orally as a supplement. It is well tolerated and appears safe when used at doses up to 12 grams per day. The longest reported utilization of myo-inositol for enhancing fertility is 12 months. Common side effects may include nausea fatigue, dizziness and insomnia. Myo-inositol’s can be beneficial in improving fertility because of its effectiveness in women with PCOS, in vitro fertilization (IVF) procedures and pregnancy.
Facts about myo-inositol:
1. Myo-inositol is a dietary supplement available without prescription
2. Myo-inositol appears safe and non-toxic
3. The typical treatment dose is 2 grams with 400 micrograms of folic acid twice daily; a mixture of myo-inositol with D-chiro-inositol (40:1) appears to be the most effective form
4. In patient with PCOS, a high percentage of women taking myo-inositol will establish regular periods and show evidence of ovulation
5. For IVF patients, no standard time for pretreatment with myo-inositol has been established, though the majority of studies begin myo-inositol 1- 3 months before the actual IVF cycle
6. Emerging evidence shows promise for the use of myo-inositol in the reduction/prevention of gestational diabetes(GDM) in patients with PCOS or those at risk due to GDM or prior family history.
Myo-inositol and PCOS
Many patients with PCOS are insulin resistant. Myo-inositol has been used as a supplement in patients with PCOS based on this observation. It is classified as an insulin-sensitizing agent which acts to regulate a number of cellular functions including improved insulin utilization. It appears at least as effective as metformin, another insulin-sensitizing drug.
In women with PCOS, myo-inositol improves insulin sensitivity and reduces insulin levels. Clinical studies have shown that both myo-inositol and D-chiro-inositol may also:
- Decrease serum androgens (male hormones)
- Decrease triglycerides
- Increase HDL cholesterol (the good cholesterol)
- Lower systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
A recent study published in February 2015 again demonstrated the effectiveness of myo-inositol in patents with PCOS. Fifty women with PCOS, insulin resistance and lack of ovulation were given myo-inositol. Twenty-nine of the 50 women showed evidence of ovulation and 11 (37.9%) became pregnant. In the patients who did not ovulate on myo-inositol alone, 13 of the 18 showed an ovulatory response when clomiphene was added and six (42.6%) conceived.
Myo-inositol and IVF
Non-PCOS IVF patients receiving 4 grams of myo-inositol with 800 micrograms of folic acid daily have demonstrated a reduction in the amount of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) administered and a reduction in the total number of mature oocytes obtained, with no resulting change in clinical pregnancy rates.
In studies of PCOS patients undergoing IVF, pretreatment with 4 grams of myo-inositol with 800 mcg daily of folic acid resulted in less total FSH used for stimulation. Pregnancy rates may be improved (this is a trend, but not statistically significance).
Myo-inositol and Pregnancy
A recent Italian study just published reports a 66 percent reduction in the incidence of gestational diabetes in obese women (BMI 30 or >) who took myo-inositol (2 grams myo-inositol + 200 mcg folic acid twice daily). The myo-inositol supplementation was started in the first trimester and continued until delivery. The authors propose that the reduction was due to improved insulin sensitivity.
The Reproductive Science Center of the Bay Area is a leading pioneer in infertility treatments including IVF with egg donation and LGBTQ family building. We’ll work with you to help you achieve your dreams of having a baby.