Myo-inositol is a natural chemical found in every cell and is considered to be part of the B vitamin complex. It is essential for the production of the insulin receptors found on liver and muscle cells and is also required within the cell to mediate the function of insulin. A lack of myo-inositol can produce a lack of insulin receptors which prevents the cells from responding effectively to the signal being sent by insulin. A lack of myo-inositol inside the cell further compounds the problem.
In short, the signal being sent to the cell receptors by elevated insulin levels is not transmitted to the inside of the cell effectively and the lack of myo-inositol inside the cell prevents the cell responding normally to the transmitted signal. As a result, less glucose is absorbed from the blood so that blood glucose remains high and this, in turn, cause the body to compensate by secreting more insulin
There has been a lot of research in the last few years focussing on the role of myo-inositol in particular and our understanding of its importance is becoming clearer. It is essential that it is present in normal quantities in order for insulin to have its desired effect. Recently, it has been suggested that many women with PCOS can be thought as having a genetically determined deficiency of myo-inositol. Supplementing such patients has a very pronounced beneficial effect – shown on the next page.