Inositol and its derivates are catching interest in metabolism since taking part in several physiological processes, including endocrine modulation. Through several mechanisms mostly mediated by insulin signaling, these compounds regulate the activities of several hormones and are essential in oocytes maturation. It is interesting to point out the contribution of an inositol deficiency in the development of several diseases, mainly in the metabolic and endocrine setting. Inositols derive from both diet and endogenous production; among causes of inositol deficiency reduced dietary intake, increased catabolism and/or excretion, decreased biosynthesis, inhibition of gut and cellular uptake and altered microbiota could be considered. Mounting direct and indirect evidence suggests that the two main isoforms (Myo-inositol-inositol, D-chiro-inositol) are implied in glycemic and lipidic metabolism and supplementation yield a beneficial effect on these parameters without hazards for health. Moreover, they have a role in polycystic ovary syndrome, acting as insulin-sensitizing agents and free radical scavengers, helping to regulate metabolism and promoting ovulation. The aim of this narrative review is to discuss the role of inositols in metabolic function disorders paying attention to whether these compounds could be efficacious and safe as a therapeutic agent with a focus on dietary intake and the role of gut microbiota.
- Food supplement
- Type 2 diabetes
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Complementary and alternative medicine