Inositol is another oi the water-soluble vitamins associated with the B complex group. Closely related to choline, it is found along with choline in the same supplements. It occurs in animal and plant tissues, and in humans it is stored chiefly in the brain and skeletal and heart muscles.
Functions By promoting the production of lecithin, inositol helps in moving fats from the liver to the cells. By doing so it aids in the metabolism of fats and helps reduce cholesterol levels. In combination with choline it helps protect the heart by preventing any fatty hardening of the arteries. It is also helpful in brain cell nutrition. Many nutritionists claim it can prevent thinning hair and baldness, but most of their evidence came from research done in laboratories on rats, chicks, hamsters, and guinea pigs but not humans.
Deficiency symptoms A deficiency may be evidenced by high blood cholesterol; however, this can be caused by other problems and should be diagnosed by a physician. Other symptoms are eczema and constipation.
Destroys vitamin or limits absorption People who drink large amounts of coffee can deplete their body's store of this vitamin. Alcohol and sugar in excess will eventually do the same thing.
Toxicity None known.
Storage Like other members of the B-complex group, supplements should be stored in dark bottles.
Processing effects Tests are still being conducted to determine inositol losses during cooking and storage of food products.
Best sources Blackstrap molasses, bran, grapefruit, heart, lemons, limes, liver, oranges, wheat germ, yeast.
Animal Found in most cuts of meat and in milk.
Fruit Found in all fruits.
Grains, nuts, seeds Found in all nuts.
Selection When buying blackstrap molasses, keep in mind that it is extracted from the same canes that yield sugar. Although blackstrap molasses is high in minerals, one tablespoon contains over 40 calories and 11 grams of carbohydrate.
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