What are Inositol Side Effects?

N. Madison
N. Madison

Inositol is a nutrient that naturally occurs in the human body as well as in the cells of both plants and animals. Inositol side effects, even in those who are taking supplements, are not a common problem. When inositol side effects do occur, they often include symptoms such as stomach upset, nausea, runny bowel movements, and in severe cases, vomiting. Some people may also experience headache, appetite loss, or dizziness when taking inositol supplements. Rarely, flushing or itching may develop as well. Fortunately, most people do not experience inositol side effects.

Red beans contain inositol.
Red beans contain inositol.

Inositol is found in a range of food sources, making it easy to include as part of an overall healthy diet. Often people take inositol supplements as well, ensuring that they consume significant amounts of the nutrient on a daily basis. In fact, inositol is sometimes used medicinally, helping to lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels in the body. Inositol may also be used to improve circulation, prevent hair loss, nourish the brain, and facilitate the conversion of nutrients to energy.

Some people who use inositol get headaches.
Some people who use inositol get headaches.

There may be a simple solution for those who experience minor inositol side effects. An individual may avoid nausea by eating or drinking before taking inositol supplements. Additionally, a person may reduce stomach-related side effects by lowering his dosage. If symptoms persist despite these measures, an inositol user may discontinue use of inositol and contact a doctor for advice.

Hives may be indicative of an inositol niacinate allergy.
Hives may be indicative of an inositol niacinate allergy.

Pregnant women generally are not advised to take inositol supplements, though the nutrient is safe to consume from natural food sources. Inositol supplements may cause contractions in some pregnant women. Since the risks of inositol use during breastfeeding are unknown, women are often advised to avoid supplementation until after their babies have weaned.

Nausea is one possible side effect of taking inositol.
Nausea is one possible side effect of taking inositol.

While unlikely, a person who is taking inositol niacinate, a form of inositol that can be used medicinally, may develop signs of an allergic reaction. Inositol niacinate consists of niacin molecules that are connected by inositol. Allergy symptoms include hives, itchy rash, itchy skin without a rash, and swelling of any part of the face or mouth. Other signs of an inositol niacinate allergic reaction include difficulty breathing and a tight feeling in the chest.

A person with a severe reaction to inositol niacinate may also develop darker-than-normal urine or yellowing of the skin, which can be a sign of a liver problem. Severe stomach pain may also occur in those with serious allergic reactions. An individual who develops any of these symptoms in relation to inositol or niacin should seek medical attention right away.

Grapefruit is a source of inositol.
Grapefruit is a source of inositol.
N. Madison
N. Madison

Nicole’s thirst for knowledge inspired her to become a wiseGEEK writer, and she focuses primarily on topics such as homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. When not writing or spending time with her four children, Nicole enjoys reading, camping, and going to the beach.

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Discussion Comments


I took inositol and got an allergic reaction. My whole body got red and itchy and inflamed. I was taking vitamin B12 and it had that.


If inositol is found naturally in the body, then why do people even need to risk taking an inositol supplement and getting all those supplement side effects?

I have never understood something like this. I mean, I can understand why people would take fish oil or magnesium or something like that, since you can't produce that in your body, but in a normal, healthy body, won't you already have all the inositol you need?

Could you explain this a little further to me please? I'm really not up on my human biology lately, but I would love to learn more about this.

Thank you very much for your informative article as well.


Recently I had heard some pretty crazy things about inositol -- one article I read said it was even shown to help cure cancer! Is that at all true, or is it just snake oil? Or, could I have possibly misread the article? It was pretty heavy in terms of medical language -- I think that the whole time they referred to inositol as IP 6 inositol -- so maybe I got the wrong end of the stick.

Has anybody else heard about this, or maybe read the same article? I would really like to learn more about this, and I really like how straightforward the information on this site is, so I'm hoping that one of your authors can help me out.



This is all very true -- however, it's important not to get so caught up in the side effects of inositol that you miss out on the benefits as well.

In case you're wondering, inositol really does have a lot of benefits. It is often prescribed as an alternative medication for mental health conditions, including depression, anxiety, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Some studies have also associated a lack of inositol with bipolar disease, so researchers are trying now to find out if it can be used to treat bipolar as well.

Additionally, inositol supplements have been shown to help people lose weight and improve liver function, especially choline inositol combination supplements.

So although there are very real concerns when it comes to inositol supplements side effects, this can be a very powerful medication.

If you suffer from any of the above conditions, I would really advise you to speak with your doctor about inositol -- it can be very helpful in the right situation.


I have been going to a chiropractor for four weeks for a pulled muscle under my left scapula. He suggested I take six inositol daily to help with the pain (had been taking ibuprofen) but stopped hoping the inositol would help. Only taking it for four days and no pain relief. Will continue but don't know for how long. Anyone else taking inositol for muscle pain? LVP

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