Formulas For Success is a monthly educational series from our leading formulation experts that covers the basics and fundamentals of trends in product formulation. Each time we’ll be featuring an emerging ingredient or combination of ingredients and sharing the key tips you’ll need to discover your own formula for success.

The Inositol Molecule
The Inositol Molecule

Inositol is often referred to as vitamin B8, but it isn’t actually a vitamin at all since it can be produced by our bodies from glucose. It is found naturally in foods like cantaloupes, citrus fruits, corn, rice, and beans. As a functional ingredient, inositol is most commonly added in product applications such as infant formulas, energy drinks, animal feed, cosmetics, and supplements. 

Properties of Inositol

Inositol is a sugar alcohol that is about 48% as sweet as sugar and possesses a similar flavor profile. It can easily be added to most food and beverage products since it has a clean taste at most common usage levels. It is easily soluble in water and is relatively stable in heat as well as acidic or alkaline conditions. While there isn’t a Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA), most sources suggest consuming 100 – 1000mg per day. For treatments of certain conditions, 1 – 12g may be needed. However, usages above 12g may exhibit side effects such as nausea, aches, tiredness, and dizziness.

Product Applications For Inositol

Infant Formulas

As breast milk is naturally rich in inositol, manufacturers of infant formulas may be interested in adding inositol into their products to promote metabolism or hair growth, and to help babies sleep. In formulation, 22mg or 100kcal could be utilized, which is the average amount found in breast milk.

Energy Drinks

Many popular energy drinks contain inositol, as it not only aids the nervous system, providing structure to cells, but also helps modulate serotonin levels. Serotonin is a key hormone that stabilizes our mood, feelings, and happiness. Some studies show that inositol may prevent neutral fat accumulation, helping the body to burn fat. Inositol is a key ingredient in our PQx™ Prevail sports performance beverage at 300mg/serving.

Animal Feed

Inositol may be safely used in feed or pet food as it may help in regulating metabolism and improve fur/hair growth. Aquatic creatures, birds, cattle, and dogs may benefit from this ingredient. Typical usage levels are 250 – 3000mg/kg.

Cosmetics

Inositol, also known as rice water in some beauty products, may have water-binding properties for skin and hair. It may also help maintain healthy cell membranes. As the first chart below shows, inositol at a concentration of 1% is a cost-effective use level for moisturizing skin. At 1%, inositol has been shown to have the best effect after 2 – 3 weeks of continuous usage, as illustrated in the second chart below.

The FDA has confirmed inositol is safe for use in cosmetics.

Supplements

There is some evidence that inositol may have benefits when taken as a supplement. It can affect the neurotransmitters in your brain, including serotonin, and may be beneficial for treating anxiety and panic disorders. It may also aid blood sugar control by improving insulin sensitivity. And it may improve fertility in women with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) by assisting in balancing hormones. Inositol may also reduce symptoms of depression. Typical usage levels for treatments are 2 – 18g or lower levels for supplementation. As with any supplement, we encourage consumers to check with a medical professional to further understand the potential health benefits before treating with inositol.

Recommended dosage of inositol for foods and beverages

Inositol Hexanicotinate

The Inositol Hexanicotinate Molecule
The Inositol Hexanicotinate Molecule

A similar product we produce is inositol hexanicotinate, also known as inositol hexaniacinate, inositol nicotinate, and inositol niacinate. The body converts these ingredients to inositol and free nicotinic acid so it produces a slightly sweet taste. It may be used as a source of Niacin (Vitamin B3) or used to widen blood vessels and increase blood flow. At 3g/day, it may improve blood circulation for people with Raynaud’s Syndrome — those who suffer from pain in their fingers and toes when cold due to poor blood circulation. In Europe, it is sold as the drug Hexopal.

No. 1 Global Manufacturer of Inositol

Inositol is a core ingredient of our health supplements and cellular nutrition portfolio. Nascent Heath Sciences is the world’s largest and leading supplier of inositol. Our inositol is extracted from only non-GMO corn, making it an ideal choice for clean-label product applications.

Ready to create your own formula for success? Partner with the world’s largest manufacturer of inositol and learn more about formulating in new applications with inositol. Contact one of our expert consultants for your product development and formulation needs!