Inositol crystals are a dietary supplement presentation of the naturally occurring chemical compound cyclohexanehexol, or myo-inositol. Distributed by several pharmaceutical manufacturers, inositol crystals are a popular supplement with several claimed cellular and nervous system benefits. Inositol in its natural, bioavailable phosphate and lipid form is found in fruits such as melons and oranges. The biological functions facilitated by inositol include a range of cellular and nervous maintenance functions, cholesterol reduction, hair growth, and fat breakdown. The essential nature of these functions suggests that inositol crystals as a supplement in diets poor in natural sources would hold significant benefits.
When synthesized into formats such as inositol crystals, myo-inositol is widely taken as a dietary supplement to boost naturally occurring sources. Although not a true sugar, inositol is classified as a carbohydrate which, in crystal form, exhibits a slight sweetness. The supplements are used to address a variety of conditions based on the natural efficacy of the compound as a cellular signaling mediator. These include both physiological and psychiatric conditions which benefit from additional inositol intake.
The biological processes which benefit from supplementary use of inositol crystals include insulin signaling response and the control of calcium concentrations within the cells. Cellular cytoskeletal structures and membrane potential are also maintained by inositol. Inositol supplements can also boost the nerve guidance or Epsin process. The compound also aids the breakdown of fats in the liver and can reduce triglyceride levels aiding in cholesterol control. Moderate decreases in blood pressure have also been achieved using the crystals. Gene expression is another biological process which benefits from adequate levels of inositol.
Psychiatric conditions are also frequently treated with inositol crystals. The compound has been shown to play a role in serotonin function which is a common denominator in many psychological conditions. Afflictions such as bulimia, panic attacks, and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) have been treated with positive results; OCD in particular showed very promising results. Unipolar and bipolar depression have also be successfully treated with inositol supplements. One of the most promising aspects when using inositol crystals to treat psychiatric conditions is the general lack of side effects experience in comparison to the conventional treatments.
The typical dietary provision of inositol varies considerably with the average American diet providing approximately 1 gram daily. Therapeutic or supplemental dosages of inositol are typically higher and range from 12 to 18 grams per day. As with all supplements, inositol crystals should ideally be used under a doctor's supervision and discontinued immediately should any unexplained side effects present themselves.