I have previously discussed Citalopram on this blog, which is a drug I personally took as part of my treatment for anxiety and panic attacks. Citalopram is known as a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), and has many applications. It also has many potential side effects, as I have previously mentioned.
What if I were to tell you that there is an alternative, which is proven to have beneficial results with no side effects? That is where Inositol comes in.
What is Inositol?
You’ve probably never heard of Inositol, and after reading this article, you may well never hear of it again. It is a chemical compound that occurs naturally in a variety of foodstuffs, such as fruit and certain cereals (although it is not digestible in that form). Its function in the body is to assist with the formation of cell membranes and assist in the transportation of fats around the body.[*]
None if that in itself is particularly fascinating, but what it can do to potentially alleviate the symptoms of anxiety and panic attacks certainly is.
Inositol and Anxiety
Studies linking Inositol with an alleviation of the effects of anxiety and/or panic attacks are admittedly limited, but no less encouraging for that fact. It has been found to bring about positive effects in the sufferers of a multitude of conditions, some of which are directly related to anxiety:
- Panic disorder
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
- Unipolar and bipolar depression
One particular study focusing on OCD found that its benefits matches that of SSRIs, with no side effects.[*] Whilst OCD is not of course anxiety, I do see the two as linked (they certainly were for me, at the very least). But that is not all. Inositol was actually found to be more effective than Fluvoxamine (a commonly prescribed SSRI) in decreasing the number of panic attacks suffered.
Should I Try Inositol?
I can give you no personal advice on whether or not Inositol is effective, as I never took it. I can however point to the clinical trials mentioned above and also to anecdotal evidence claiming its effectiveness. People have reported a seemingly miraculous turn about in their mental state, with panic attacks suddenly becoming a thing of the past. Granted, these stories are not shared by everyone, but the reports do generally seem to be highly positive.
I also came across some less complimentary information referring to unpleasant side effects, such as diarrhea. This was not something that I had seen mentioned anywhere else, and I suspect that the cause may have been a drastic and sudden increase in intake. If you are going to try Inositol, I recommend that you introduce it gradually. Quite drastic doses (10g – 20g) are recommended, but you may wish to take it slowly, as much lower dosages appear to have had positive effects.