Inositol is a nutrient that is incorporated into cell membranes as part of the phosphoinositides. Phosphoinositides are involved in the communication of information across and within the cell membrane, and also function in cytoskeletal organisation and membrane dynamics, which suggests that inositol may be an important requirement in the diet for effective cell membrane function. Evidence suggests that dietary inositol is able to regulate mood. In animal experiments, when rats are exposed to chronic stress under experimental conditions, inositol is able to attenuate the mood changes that occur in the rats. Inositol may be useful against depression and anxiety related disorders such as obsessive compulsive disorder and panic disorders. However, as would be expected, inositol may only be effective if the diet is already deficient, or if the inositol intake is not enough to correctly regulate phosphoinositide levels in cell membranes. Those with optimal levels of phosphoinositides may not benefit from additional intakes in the diet.
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