It can be found in small amounts in a range of foods such as buckwheat, chickpeas, soya lecithin, pumpkin and pumpkin seeds as well as in the Ayurvedic herb bitter melon (momordica charantia). It is also produced by healthy human bodies from d-pinitol and myo-inositol, both of which are relatively abundant in the average diet.
DCI plays an important role in insulin signal transduction in human metabolism as a secondary messenger. Insulin transports the sugar from the blood into the cell where a d-chiro inositol-containing Inositol Phosphoglycan or DCI-IPG converts the sugar into either adenosine triphospate (ATP) to be used as energy or glucagon to be stored for later use.
It is currently thought that many cases of insulin resistance, polycystic ovarian syndrome and even type II diabetes mellitus are caused by a functional deficiency of this substance through both dysfunction of the enzyme which produces DCI as well as an overly efficient method of excreting what DCI is present in the body.
Studies have found that women with PCOS excrete DCI in their urine at 6 times the rate of healthy control subjects, whilst tissue biopsies taken from people with Type II diabetes have shown a significantly decreased level of DCI-IPG in their cells.
Supplementing with d-chiro inositol can help to address the functional deficiency and may increase the amount of DCI-IPG available in the cells to properly metabolise glucose into energy.
There is early evidence that DCI may also help those with Type II Diabetes Mellitus, however, further clinical trials will be required before this will be known definitively and the effect quantified. For the time being, taking DCI is an excellent way help minimise the risk of PCOS developing into Diabetes.
Human clinical studies have so far shown that DCI supplementation in women with PCOS and those who are insulin resistant can improve a whole raft of symptoms and clinical markers such as:
- Increasing cellular insulin sensitivity
- Increasing fertility
- Improved ovulation frequency by 300%
- Increased low progesterone levels
- Reduced serum insulin levels
- Reducing raised serum androgens (testosterone) both free and total
- Reducing glycosylated haemoglobin (HbA1c) an indicator of long term sugar levels
- Reducing plasma triglyceride levels (the amount of fat in your blood)
- Reducing (bad) LDL cholesterol
- Increasing (good) HDL cholesterol
- Reducing raised blood pressure, both systolic and diastolic
Buy a 1-month supply of DCI here for just $60.
(36 grams will provide 1200 mg per day, suitable for a 60 kg/132 lb woman. The recommended dose is 20 mg/kg.)
Nestler JE, Jakubowicz DJ, Reamer P, Gunn RD, Allan G (1999). “Ovulatory and metabolic effects of D-chiro-inositol in the polycystic ovary syndrome”. N. Engl. J. Med. 340 (17): 1314-20. PMID 10219066.
Nestler JE, Jakubowicz DJ, Iuorno MJ (2000). “Role of inositolphosphoglycan mediators of insulin action in the polycystic ovary syndrome”. J.Pediatr. Endocrinol. Metab. 13 Suppl 5: 1295-8. PMID 11117673.
Sun TH, Heimark DB, Nguygen T, Nadler JL, Larner J (2002). “Both myo-inositol to chiro-inositol epimerase activities and chiro-inositol to myo-inositol ratios are decreased in tissues of GK type 2 diabetic rats compared to Wistar controls”. Biochem. Biophys. Res. Commun. 293 (3):1092-8. PMID 12051772.
Baillargeon JP, Apridonidze T, Diamanti-Kandarakis E, Iuorno M, Ostlund RE, Nestler JE (2006) “Altered D Chiro Inositol urinary clearance in women with polycystic ovarian syndrome” Diabetes Care 29(2):300-305
Cheang KI, Baillargeon JP, Essah P, Ostlund RE, Apridonidze T, Islam L, Nestler JE (2008) “Insulin stimulated release of d-chiro inositol-containing phosphoglycan mediator correlates with insulin sensitivity in women with polycystic ovarian syndrome” Metabolism Clinical and Experimental 57:1390–13