Update: Since I originally published this article, Ovasitol has been improved! The manufacturer, Theralogix, has removed maltodextrin (an excipient) from the formula, and left all of the active ingredients and the 40:1 ratio of myo to d-chiro inostiol the same. They also changed the old boxed packaging with a new resealable bag that ships better and takes up less space. I love a company that not only produces a top quality product but listens to its customers! And yes, I still take Ovasitol every day.
Like many women with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), I work hard to keep my blood sugar balanced, cycles regular and testosterone levels low through diet, lifestyle and supplements. For a while, I also took inositol in the form of D-chiro-inositol (Chiral Balance) in the morning and Myo-inositol (Ovaboost) in the evening with good results.
I have replaced this regimen with one product new to the market. Ovasitol (from Theralogix) is the first product available which combines two important types of inositol, myo-inositol (MYO) and D-chiro-inositol (DCI), in one package. Its unique combination of two important inositols in a ratio that matches our body’s natural levels, is on the cutting edge of PCOS research, and many agree that, together with diet and exercise, it should be a “first line” approach to promote menstrual regularity and normal ovarian function.
What is inositol?
Inositol has been a hot topic of discussion for some time. For some background, you can refer to my previous articles, interviews and research here. In a nutshell, inositol is not a drug; it is a class of B-vitamins that naturally occur in many of the foods we consume such as fruits, legumes, vegetables, nuts, buckwheat and beans.
Two of the 9 forms of inositol (MYO and DCI) have special insulin sensitizing capabilities and are important “second messengers” for insulin receptors. You will notice that supplement dosages of MYO are always higher than for DCI; that is because your body converts MYO into DCI. These inositols are critical players in insulin signaling, and the disruption in this signaling, due to a lack of one or the other, leads researchers to believe that inositol is a key component in insulin resistance.
Unfortunately, women with PCOS have a breakdown in this process. Our bodies have difficulty converting inositol from our food into MYO and DCI, or we excrete too much DCI and cannot produce enough to replace it. This causes the breakdown in insulin processing.
As you may know, insulin resistance (IR) triggers increased testosterone. IR and high testosterone are common symptoms in women with PCOS, which cascade into a host of hormone related health issues ranging from difficulty with fertility to acne and hair loss.
Studies have shown that women with PCOS who take an inositol supplement each day will reduce their insulin resistance, improve their hormone levels, and have more regular menstrual cycles. Inositol supplementation also supports normal lipid (blood fat) levels and promotes egg quality in women trying to become pregnant.
In addition, inositol is a lipotropic agent which helps your body remove fats from your organs and blood. While inositol is most commonly thought of for restoring menstrual cycles and fertility, replacing clomiphene or metformin, current research promises a role well beyond these symptoms.
What does Myo-inositol do?
An ovarian deficiency in MYO has been linked closely to PCOS. MYO supplementation seems to help alleviate common PCOS symptoms such as insulin resistance and ovarian function issues.
In fact, MYO has been shown to improve insulin resistance and egg quality, and may reduce the risk of gestational diabetes. In fact, a 2007 study in Italy found that, “MYO is a simple and safe treatment that is capable of restoring spontaneous ovarian activity and consequently fertility in most patients with PCOS.” In another study, after only 12 weeks, patients had improved insulin sensitivity and androgen levels and returned to normal menstrual cycles . Later, in a double-blind study, researchers discovered that when given MYO, patients’ ovulation increased and they returned to normal progesterone levels.
Due to the decreases in insulin and androgen levels when patients take MYO, it is also believed to help reduce hirsutism and acne .
Studies also find that subjects receiving MYO saw decreases in testosterone, triglycerides and blood pressure .
In addition, it has been linked to the activation of serotonin receptors which may help lessen appetite, depression and anxiety while it improves mood.
While benefits were less dramatic with obese women, they did lose a significant amount of weight and lowered leptin levels. In summary, supplying extra MYO seems to correct the malfunctioning pathways and alleviate these common PCOS symptoms.
What does D-chiro-inositol do?
Just like MYO, DCI plays a key role in mediating the action of the insulin receptor. There is evidence that in the peripheral tissues of women with PCOS, not enough DCI is produced from MYO, leading to a relative deficiency of DCI. This may be what causes women with PCOS to develop insulin resistance.
Insulin resistance causes many issues, including high blood sugar, high insulin levels, high androgen levels, and the production of too much testosterone. The excess testosterone cascades into further symptoms including belly fat, facial hair, hair loss, acne and lack of ovulation. Increasing DCI in the peripheral tissues has been widely proven to address many of these issues, as well as improve ovulatory function (though MYO is more effective with ovulation).
D-Chiro-inositol works its magic by increasing “the action of insulin in patients with the polycystic ovary syndrome, thereby improving ovulatory function and decreasing serum androgen concentrations, blood pressure, and plasma triglyceride concentrations .”
Studies show that in women with PCOS, replacing the lost DCI with a supplement, “improved their insulin resistance and clinical features. ” Caution is necessary with DCI; women with PCOS appear to actually have too much DCI in their ovarian tissue, so supplementing higher doses (600-2400 mg daily) of DCI “progressively worsens oocyte quality and ovarian response.”
As with so many things in your body, it is all about balance. The natural ratio of MYO to DCI in your plasma is 40:1. The goal is to maintain that ratio for optimal performance. Adding too much of one or the other will throw off your balance and then you are back to square one.
Studies show that, “MI/DCI in a combination reproducing the plasma physiological ratio (40:1), represents a promising alternative in achieving better clinical results, by counteracting PCOS at both systematic and ovary level.” In fact, a recent study revealed that, “Myo-inositol+D-chiro-inositol showed significantly better results in terms of weight reduction, resumption of spontaneous ovulation, and spontaneous pregnancy than Metformin in polycystic ovary syndrome patients.”
In addition, women with PCOS undergoing IVF may especially benefit, whereas one study found that, “only the combined therapy was able to improve oocyte and embryo quality as well as pregnancy rates.”
So, in summary, “The combined administration of MI and DCI in physiological plasma ratio (40:1) should be considered as the first line approach on PCOS overweight patients, being able to reduce the metabolic and clinical alteration of PCOS and, therefore, reduce the risk of metabolic syndrome.”
Are there any side effects to taking inositol?
The short answer is no. Occasionally, at a very high dose of MYO, one may experience mild GI side effects such as nausea, gas or diarrhea . It should not interact with your other medications or supplements. During pregnancy, you may continue taking inositol, and studies show that it may reduce gestational diabetes. As always, please consult your healthcare team before beginning any medication or supplement.
Where can I find MYO and DCI together?
A new product called Ovasitol (by Theralogix) has just come onto the market and promises to promote menstrual regularity and normal ovarian function.* Ovasitol is the first “combined inositol” supplement for women with PCOS.
I am excited about this new option because it not only combines MYO and DCI, but it does so at an ideal ratio, mimicking healthy blood plasma. This optimal combination will improve insulin sensitivity and promote normal hormone levels which can restore menstrual regularity and enhance ovary function.
Ovasitol contains 100mg of DCI and 4000 mg of MYO. The DCI is a purposefully lower dose than I have been taking as well, since the 600 mg dose in light of new research, may be too high.
Ovasitol does not contain folic acid since if you are pregnant or trying to conceive, that is already in your prenatal vitamin and too much can be damaging. I do not advocate supplementing with folic acid at any rate; I suggest using folate. This is the reason I did not use the inositol supplement Pregnitude.
For more information on folic acid and folate, read my article here.
My former regimen of Ovaboost and Chiral Balance was $263.85 ($86.85 for Ovaboost and $177 for Chiral Balance) for 3 months. Ovasitol will cost me $78 for the same timeframe. The downside, if you are trying to get pregnant, is the loss of folate, melatonin and the antioxidants contained in Ovaboost that can support egg quality.
I also like the portability of Ovasitol. It comes in easy to use packets and is tasteless, odorless and dissolves easily in water, so I can slip it in my purse and take it on the go!
I am confident taking Ovasitol because it is produced in a thoughtful way by a reputable company. Theralogix formulated Ovasitol with an advisory board of leading reproductive specialists, and it was vetted by NSF® International (a non-profit certification program) for purity, content accuracy and freedom from contaminants. Inositols are relatively unregulated nutritional supplements. This means there is no one monitoring for variance between batches of a product or even contamination by other substances. Voluntary third party monitoring reassures me of Theralogix’s commitment to a quality product.
A healthy diet and lifestyle are always required for optimal health, but in a case like this when our body’s systems cannot derive nutrients from the food we eat, supplements are definitely a good choice.
I encourage you to talk to your health care team about adding Ovasitol to your regimen. Work on inositols is cutting edge, and these studies are small. Your team may be unfamiliar with the research. Take information with you to share, and take control of your health.
If you are interested in ordering Ovasitol, you may do so here and automatically receive the lowest price.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
Abdel, Hamid, Mohamed S. Amr, Madkour Ismail, A. Wael, and Wael Borg. “Inositol versus Metformin Administration in Polycystic Ovary… : Journal of Evidence-Based Women’s Health Journal Society.” Evidence Based Women’s Health Journal. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Aug. 2015. Web.
Artini et al. Endocrine and clinical effects of myo-inositol administration in polycystic ovary syndrome. A randomized study. Gynecol Endocrinol. 2013; 29(4):275-9. 6.
Baillargeon JP M.D., M.Sc.,corresponding author Maria J. Iuorno, M.D., M.Sc., Teimuraz Apridonidze, M.D., M.Sc., and John E. Nestler, M.D. “Uncoupling Between Insulin and Release of a d-Chiro-Inositol–Containing Inositolphosphoglycan Mediator of Insulin Action in Obese Women With Polycystic Ovary Syndrome.” National Center for Biotechnology Information. April 8, 2010. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3140116/ (accessed October 24, 2014).
Brink CB, et al. “Effects of myo-inositol versus fluoxetine and imipramine pretreatments on serotonin 5HT2A and muscarinic acetylcholine receptors in human neuroblastoma cells.” Metabolic Brain Diseases, 2004.
Carlomagno G, et al. “Inositol safety: clinical evidences.” European Review for Medical and Pharmacological Sciences, 2011: 931-6.
Colazingari S, et al. “The combined therapy myo-inositol plus D-chiro-inositol, rather than D-chiro-inositol, is able to improve IVF outcomes: results from a randomized controlled trial.” Archives of Gynecology and Obstetrics, 2013: 1405-11.
Constantino D, et al. “Metabolic and hormonal effects of myo-inositol in women with polycystic ovary syndrome: a double-blind trial.” European Review for Medical and Pharmacological Sciences, 2009: 105-10.
Dinicola S, et al. “The rationale of the myo-inositol and D-chiro-inositol combined treatment for polycystic ovary syndrome.” Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, 2014: 1079-92.
Genazzani AD, et al. “Myo-inositol administration positively affects hyperinsulinemia and hormonal parameters in overweight patients with polycystic ovary syndrome.” Gynocological Encocrinology, 2008: 139-44.
Iuorno MJ, et al. “Effects of d-chiro-inositol in lean women with the polycystic ovary syndrome.” Endocrine Practice, 2002: 417-23.
Kumar SM, et al. “Molecular level interaction of the human acidic fibroblast growth factor with the antiangiogenic agent, inositol hexaphosphate.” Biochemistry, 2010.
Laganà AS. “Myo-Inositol Vs D-Chiro- Inositol: preliminary data on the comparison between their effects on ovarian function and metabolic factors in women with PCOS.” Proceedings of The World Congress on Building Consensus out of Controversies in Gynecology, Infertility and Perinatology . IStanbul, Turkey, 2013.
Larner J, et al. “D-chiro-inositol glycans in insulin signaling and insulin resistance.” Mol Med. Nov-Dec 2010. http://molmed.org/journal/articles/1/32 (accessed October 24, 2014).
Nestler JE. “Ovulatory and metabolic effects of D-chiro-inositol in the polycystic ovary syndrome.” New England Journal of Medecine, 1999: 1314-20.
Nordio M, et al. “The combined therapy with myo-inositol and D-chiro-inositol reduces the risk of metabolic disease in PCOS overweight patients compared to myo-inositol supplementation alone.” European Review for Medical and Pharmacological Sciences , 2012: 575-81.
Papaleo et al. Myo-inositol may improve oocyte quality in intracytoplasmic sperm injection cycles. A prospective, controlled, randomized trial. Fertil Steril. 2009; 91(5):1750-4.
Rosalbino I, et al. “Does ovary need D-chiro-inositol?” Journal of Ovarian Research, 2012.
Unfer et al. Effect of a supplementation with myo-inositol plus melatonin on oocyte quality in women who failed to conceive in previous in vitro fertilization cycles for poor oocyte quality: a prospective, longitudinal, cohort study. Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci. 2011; 15:452-7. 10.
Vireday, Pamela. “PCOS Treatment: The Inositols.” Well Rounded Mama. october 31, 2013. http://wellroundedmama.blogspot.com/p/about-this-blog.html (accessed october 24, 2014).
Zacchè MM, et al. “Efficacy of myo-inositol in the treatment of cutaneous disorders in young women with polycystic ovary syndrome.” Gynocological Endocrinology, 2009: 508-13.