What is Inosine?

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  • Written By: Douglas Bonderud
  • Edited By: Michelle Arevalo
  • Last Modified Date: 16 October 2019
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Inoside is a chemical compound found in the human body. It has the chemical structure C10H12N4O5. It is not an essential nutrient, and no dietary supplementation is required. The main function of inoside in the body is as part of the transfer ribonucleic acid (tRNA) process, which supplies polypeptide chains with specific amino acids. It is also key in the formation of wobble base pairs, which are an essential secondary structure in human genetic code.

This compound begins as adenine, which is, in turn, converted to adenosine or inosine monophosphate (IMP). Either of these substances can then be changed into inosine. In a genetic base pair, inosine will bond with adenine, cytosine, or uracil. This nucleoside is also a link in the chain of purine nucelotides that govern muscle movements.

Testing of this compound as a supplement was originally done in the 1970s. It was examined for use as an athletic enhancer, and many websites claim that it will increase muscle efficiency. Clinical trials failed to find any statistically significant effect of inosine on muscle growth or function. This compound is still sold as a fitness supplement, and is typically taken in amounts of 5,000 to 6,000 milligrams (mg) per day. There are no known side effects, but inosine does break down into uric acid in the body, and pregnant women or people with hyperuricemia should not use it.


Inosine occurs naturally in both brewer's yeast and meat products, such as liver and kidney, but it not necessary to consume any amount for the body to function properly. It has been found to be effective as a food attractor for farmed fish, such as turbot fry and yellowtail. The cost of using this chemical as a food attractor is high, however, and it is often used only to feed fish larvae, as they consume a much smaller quantity of food.

Medical research is currently underway to test the effectiveness of inosine as a treatment for spinal cord injury and stroke. It has been demonstrated that inosine is effective in improving axonal rewiring, and the speed at which it occurs, which may assist stroke and spinal cord injury patients in regaining a wider range of motion. This drug is also in phase II drug research trials as a multiple sclerosis (MS) treatment. This is due to the fact that it produces uric acid as its end product, which is a peroxynitrite scavenger and may benefit patients with MS. Alseres Pharmaceuticals holds the patent to create a stroke drug from this compound, and is investigating its effectiveness in treating MS.


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