Inositol is a natural compound, and one that may be beneficial in the treatment of hair loss. In this post, I’m going to further explore its possible uses as a hair loss cure.
First, I’ll introduce inositol and its most common uses.
Second, I’ll discuss the role it may play in the treatment of hair thinning and loss (with the scientific evidence to back it up).
Finally, I’ll show you two ways you can begin to add more inositol to your diet.
What Is Inositol?
Inositol, more popularly known as Vitamin B8 or myo-inositol, is a compound that was once believed to be a B vitamin. While not a true B vitamin, the compound is still related to the complex and considered an important compound within the body.
The most common sources of inositol in our diets is phytate (a salt) and phytic acid. Interestingly, though, these are indigestible to us so cannot be absorbed. Instead, our body synthesizes its own inositol from glucose.
Inositol and Hair Loss: A Possible Cure?
The most common form of hair loss – Androgenetic Alopecia (AGA) – is believed to be caused by sensitivity to DHT. DHT is a natural hormone, necessary for male sexual development and health.
While most individuals with AGA don’t have excess levels of DHT, they do have follicles that are sensitive to it. This sensitivity leads to hair miniaturization and, if left untreated, baldness.
As a treatment for hyperandrogenism, it’s believed that inositol can combat DHT-triggered hair loss.
The Scientific Research
First, let’s look at the research that supports inositol as a treatment for hyperandrogenism.
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a medical condition that affects 4-8% of women of reproductive age. A major symptom of the condition is insulin resistance. While many insulin-sensitizing drugs (such as metformin) have been used to treat the condition, inositol was recently discovered as a possible treatment option.
What does PCOS have to do with hair loss prevention?
PCOS is caused by an excess of circulating androgens (hyperandrogenism). While AGA patients typically don’t have an excess of androgens, they do have a sensitivity to the ones present.
In this way, it makes sense that PCOS treatments may be beneficial for AGA patients, too.
So, how do we know inositol is helpful in the treatment of hyperandrogenism?
A 2015 research study recruited 30 women between the ages of 24 and 32. All participants are diagnosed with PCOS, and all suffer from insulin resistance.
The women were split into two groups. Group A was treated with 1 g myo-inositol, 5 mg monacolin K and 400 mg lipoic acid for 6 months and Group B was treated with 2 g myo-inositol, 10 mg monacolin K, 800 mg lipoic acid for 6 months.
At the end of the study, both groups showed improvement in terms of hyperandrogenism. However, the group that received a double dose saw better results overall. Inositol was thought to work by increasing insulin sensitivity.
Another interesting fact to point out is inositol’s role in cell signaling.
As cell growth and regulation play a major part in healthy hair growth, this is crucial.
Side Effects of Inositol Use
There are side effects you should be aware of before taking inositol.
The main side effects experienced by patients who supplement with inositol include headache, nausea, dizziness, and tiredness. For many, these will subside with time.
However, patients with bipolar disorder should not take inositol as it may worsen symptoms of the disorder.
Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should avoid inositol supplementation as not enough is known about its effects.
If you have PCOS, insulin resistance, or a similar condition, speak with your physician prior to beginning supplementation.
How to Use Inositol for Hair Growth
If you want to add inositol to your hair growth routine, there are two routes.
Consume Inositol-Rich Foods
As a naturally-occurring compound, there are a few foods you can add into your diet to naturally increase inositol levels. These include:
- Citrus fruits
- Whole grain bread
Interestingly, inositol can bind with another nutrient – choline – and work together within the body for improved results.
The best food to consume for both inositol and choline doses is egg. Meat (particularly liver) is also high in both compounds and can prove beneficial when consumed regularly.
Take a Supplement
While inositol can be consumed, not everyone has as varied of a diet as they should. This is where an inositol supplement can be beneficial.
As with most over-the-counter supplements, inositol can be found in a powder, or as capsules or tablets. There are no significant benefits of one form over the other, so choose the supplement you feel most comfortable with.
Inositol can be taken in the morning or at night, and you can take it on an empty stomach or after eating. The dosage you take will depend on what you’re taking the supplement for.
In relation to hair loss, 400 mg – 2000 mg is recommended. However, consult with your physician before beginning supplementation to learn a safe dose for you.
If you choose the powder, one of the best ways to add it to your routine is to mix it into a morning smoothie. The morning smoothie itself already has tons of benefits for hair growth, and the addition of inositol will only improve its effects.
I wouldn’t say that inositol is the most effective hair loss treatment out there. However, only time will tell if more research studies will be performed to further its claim as a beneficial supplement for hair loss sufferers.