Inositol is a sugar related to glucose. It is found naturally in the body. It is in many foods such as meat, fruits and whole-grain cereals.
Some people with depression have lower levels of inositol in their brain and spinal fluid. It is suggested that increased inositol may improve mood.
Inositol may help depression by helping brain cells communicate better. It increases a natural chemical messenger (serotonin) in the brain. It is thought that increasing serotonin is helpful in depression.
There is very little scientific evidence on inositol for the treatment of depression. More studies of better quality are needed.
No side effects have been reported in the studies of inositol and depression. However, these studies may not have looked for negative effects.
Inositol is available as a dietary supplement. It can be purchased at some health food shops or over the internet.
Given the lack of evidence on inositol for depression, it cannot be recommended.
Last reviewed and updated: 16 March 2015