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What is D-Chiro-Inositol?

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D-chiro inositol is a natural human metabolite, meaning that the human body can ordinarily make it from the food it ingests. This makes it one of the safest substances around.

D-chiro inositol is part of a group of substances collectively referred to as inositol which is a part of the B Vitamin family. Inositol is a type of carbohydrate which is formed by 6 carbon atoms, 12 hydrogen atoms and 6 oxygen atoms. Interestingly, the same number and type of atoms, when arranged differently can form glucose! There are many different types of inositol, all with a slightly different arrangement of the atoms. Myo-inositol is one of the most common and it is this form that you are most likely to find in the health food shops, usually sold in a combination with choline as they work well together.

D-chiro inositol is a component of an inositol phosphoglycan which enhances the way insulin works in the body, making it more effective. A deficiency in d-chiro inositol or DCI containing inositol phosphoglycan (DCI-IPG) can be a contributing factor to a person developing insulin resistance. This is because some actions of insulin are affected by DCI-IPG mediators.

What is DCI?

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17 comments to What is D-Chiro-Inositol?

  • Kat

    Hi Anne,
    Thank you so very much for your help and support! I have been dealing with PCOS for what feels like a very long time and was repeatedly told by doctors that the contraceptive pill was the only way to deal with it. I never understood what I had or that there was a natural way to deal with it until your website and your very insightful emails :)
    Over the last 4 months I have been taking DCI and other vitamins, completely changed my diet and started exercising regularly and I’m very pleased to say I got my first natural cycle in 7 years!!! It’s not regular yet but I definitely feel a change happening in my body and I believe my new lifestyle will help me get there eventually (Rome wasn’t built in a day!)
    This is all thanks to the research and effort you have put into this website and your emails, I now feel so much more empowered with the knowledge you have given me.
    Thank you, a million times thank you!

  • My PCOS Info

    Kat, I’m honoured to have been able to help you. I’m so glad you are making such a huge change in your life and that you are making such excellent progress. You are very welcome! All the best, Anne

  • Jennifer

    Hello Anne,

    I usually do not leave questions but your information seems very well composed and I adore the fact that you consistently answer questions left by your readers. I am 17 years old and have been told I have insulin resistance because I am over-weight. What does insulin resistance cause, how does it affect the menstrual cycle/hormones and what can be done to resolve it? Thank you!

  • My PCOS Info

    Hi Jennifer,

    Thank you for your enquiry.

    If you are new to PCOS you might find the following links helpful:

    What Causes PCOS?

    D Chiro Inositol – How Does It Work?

    Insulin has many actions in the body. It is essentially a growth hormone and is involved in the regulation of many body processes associated with growth. It encourages the body to store energy and inhibits the release of that stored energy (i.e. fat). Insulin causes the theca cells in the ovaries to produce testosterone, a hormone which causes excess hair growth in women, can cause hair loss, acne and other symptoms of PCOS. Excess testosterone production also disrupts the normal female reproductive cycle.

    Insulin resistance occurs when the cells of the body are not responsive to the normal amount of insulin produced by the pancreas. Sometimes this occurs on its own, other times it is a result of excess fat, which causes an insulin resistance of its own. When the cells are ‘deaf’ to the call of insulin to ‘open the door’ to glucose in the blood, the pancreas responds by producing more and more insulin until the oversupply of insulin in the blood finally overpowers the cells’ resistance towards it. However, as insulin has effects on other areas of the body, not just getting sugar (glucose) into the cell for energy, these very high levels of insulin cause other areas of the body to overreact, such as the ovaries producing far too much testosterone, or the fat cells storing way too much energy.

    Once glucose is in a cell, a molecule called d-chiro inositol inositol phosphoglycan or DCI-IPG helps to convert the glucose into adenosine triphosphate or ATP which is what the cell burns for energy.

    It is currently thought that PCOS results from a functional deficiency of a nutritional derivative called d-chiro inositol, an integral part of the DCI-IPG moelcule. Because they can’t convert the glucose in the cell into ATP, the cell can’t accept new glucose molecules, so it becomes resistant to the insulin outside of the cell. When women with PCOS supplement with DCI, this addresses the energy problems in, according to the scientific studies, 86%. When the cells are able to turn glucose into ATP and burn it for energy, the insulin resistance problem is addressed, therefore the cascade of biochemical reactions which occur because of it are stopped. Insulin levels don’t rise dangerously high, so fat storage and release is normalised, testosterone production is normalised and the symptoms associated with high insulin and testosterone levels go away.

    You can buy DCI here: D Chiro Inositol for Sale

    If you have any more questions, please let me know. I’m here to help!

    Best wishes,

    Anne

  • Najah S

    Hi

    Should I consult my doctor before starting to take this inconjunction with vitex? I suffer from pcos and insulin resistance severely…think of any symptom associated with it I have it. I have very high testosterone levels too. I’ve just started reading seriously about my pcos and came accross this as I am trying to conceive my second child. Your response and advice would be much appreciated. I am going to start vitex tomorrow but have never heard about dci before.

    Thanks

  • My PCOS Info

    Hi Najah,

    Thank you for your comment and my apologies for the delay in replying to it.

    D-chiro inositol is not a prescription medication, it is actually derived from foods like chickpeas, carob and pumpkin seeds. It is fine to take with Vitex, in fact many women with PCOS take Vitex and DCI together as they both work well together. DCI addresses the cause of the hormonal imbalance (insulin resistance, high insulin levels which cause the ovaries to produce testosterone and disrupt the rest of the female reproductive cycle) and the Vitex gives the female reproductive hormones a little extra push to get back in line, normalising LH, FSH and progesterone so that the cycle can return.

    I will send you copies of the studies on DCI and PCOS for your own information and to share with your doctor if you wish. Basically the latest recommendation from a study last year was that DCI and myoinositol be the first line of treatment for women with PCOS to improve fertility outcomes and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, which women with PCOS are 7 times more susceptible to than the general population.

    If you have any questions, please let me know. I’m here to help.

    Anne

  • Najah

    Hi Anne

    I really want to thankyou with all my heart for your reply. I’m so happy you answered my question!!! I’d love a copy of the studies!!! I’m desperately trying to find natural ways of controlling my insulin levels and pcos and regulating my cycles and best if all ovulating again. A question that is really bugging me though is that why don’t gp’s or fertility clinics have this information or knowledge? If it can help women with things like insulin resistance it just seems weird that they don’t know this!!!

    Another question…is dci only available through online orders? Can it be purchased in Melbourne? ?

  • My PCOS Info

    Hi Najah,

    You are most welcome. I agree with you wholeheartedly. The lack of practitioner knowledge regarding PCOS, at both GP and specialist level in my experience, is abysmal. Unfortunately it extends all the way back to diagnosis. For a condition which is estimated to affect between 10 and 25% of the female population, the level of attention the condition gets is seriously inadequate.

    DCI is only available online. I am the only Australian supplier as well as being the least expensive world-wide.

    If you have insulin sensitivity problems, I think DCI is the best place to start as according to the studies I’ve read, it addresses the root cause of the problem. I will email the studies to you this morning.

    You can find other natural options for treating PCOS and insulin resistance on my Natural Treatments page.

    I think some of the best adjunct options are green tea, cinnamon, magnesium and vitamin D. If you are taking DCI, it is worth noting that manganese increases the efficacy of DCI at lowering elevated blood sugar.

    IF your primary aim at present is to conceive, you might wish to look into N-Acetyl Cysteine as well. Studies have found NAC “as effective as metformin” in relation to some PCOS markers and improvement in conception rates with NAC is almost as good as with DCI in women with PCOS.

  • Melody

    I have read about DCI and I am also reading about DIM. My question is, what is the difference between the two natural supplements?

    I have been suffering from PCOS for 20 years and doctors know very little about what I go through on a daily basis just to be able to get out of bed! I have read the comments posted before me and I also have EVERY PCOS symptom. I have taken Glucophage/Metformin for many years and am no longer able to take these as I am know experiencing every side effect associated with the medication.

    Any help would be appreciated greatly.

  • My PCOS Info

    DCI and DIM are about as dissimilar as two compounds can be. DCI, or d-chiro inositol is a member of the inositol family and a deficiency in this molecule, and other errors in metabolism around it, appear to be at the heart of the syndrome we call PCOS. When you supplement with exogenous DCI, for most women with PCOS, the symptoms of PCOS go away.

    DIM, or diindolylmethane, is a compound found in broccoli and some other vegetables in the brassica family. It has an oestrogen-regulating effect and an anti-androgen, testosterone-lowering effect. There is information on it here.

    DCI addresses the putative cause of PCOS, DIM may treat some of the symptoms of PCOS, but does not address the cause.

  • Valerie

    Hi, I have very irregular periods with my PCOS but not really any other symptoms. I do not ovulate and had IVF done to have a baby. I would love another one but IVF is expensive. Also I hate being on medications. I have been trying to eat healthy, I am not over weight and I am very active but my period has been lasting like a month now. I was wondering if this could help regulate my periods. I do not want to have to be on birth control the rest of my life.

  • My PCOS Info

    Hi Valerie,

    Studies have found that DCI improves ovulation and biochemical markers in 86% of women with PCOS, so there is a very good chance that it will help you. I know many women who have conceived after starting to take DCI. Some of them had even tried IVF for years without success. At least DCI is a natural product and something that healthy human bodies make anyway. When women with PCOS take DCI, they are really just replacing something that should be there in the first place and it’s the closest thing science has discovered as a ’cause’ for the condition. It sounds like you are doing everything else right, which will also increase your chances of conception on DCI.

    If you have any more questions about DCI or PCOS, please let me know. I’m here to help.

    All the best, Anne

  • Valerie

    So I have been researching more on this and it sounds great but then I read that it may not work with women with lean pcos. They say clomid doesn’t work with the lean pcos which did not work for me. So I was wondering if you have heard this at all.

  • Rachel Oxborough

    Do you ship to Singapore, if so how much?

    Kind regards

    Rachel

  • My PCOS Info

    Hi Rachael,

    Yes, I ship to Singapore. The prices are the same as for any international destination. You can check them out here. A one month supply of 36 grams is $65 AUD including shipping. Discounts of up to 24% apply to orders over 108 grams.

    If you have any more questions, please let me know. I’m here to help.

    Kind regards,

    Anne

  • Tina

    Fair warning this maybe a wee bit of tmi. I have PCOS but do not have any issues with menstruation (I am fertile and menstruate on a very regular and consistent basis). After doing much research I have just started (yesterday) a vitamin and mineral regime which includes myo-inositol. I know it is not DCI but is in the same family. Today is the second day of the regime and I started menstruating (10 days early). I currently take the ‘pill’ contraceptive as a means to ‘treat’ my PCOS but more so to prevent pregnancy. It is my understanding the inositol in general helps with achieving regular menstruation. I don’t mind that i’m ‘early’ but I am very concerned that the myo-inositol will lessen the effects of the the ‘pill’. Do you know anything about this?

  • My PCOS Info

    I am not aware of any interactions between myoinositol and the OCP. They work in separate biochemical pathways, so there is no reason why they would interact negatively together. The pill causes an artifical (and hence very regular) period, whilst stopping the rest of the cycle dead.

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