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Myo-inositol May Prevent Gestational Diabetes

Tuesday March 27, 2018
Myo-inositol May Prevent Gestational Diabetes

Dangerously high blood sugar during pregnancy can be prevented by a simple and safe food supplement according to several studies.


Raised blood sugar levels in pregnancy, clinically known as Gestational Diabetes Mellitus (GDM) is one of the most common pregnancy complications, affecting approximately 35,000 pregnant women in the UK each year (1). The prevalence of GDM is on the rise, due to modern-day sedentary lifestyles and poor dietary habits increasing the risk of such metabolic disorders.


GDM may increase the risk of pregnancy complications, excessive birth weight, and the baby’s likelihood to develop diabetes in later life. A review of recent evidence indicates that myo-inositol, a naturally-occurring vitamin-like substance, may potentially prevent GDM (2).


After combining results from four trials involving a total of 586 participants, X Guo et. al advocated myo-inositol supplementation in preventing the onset of GDM (2). The study participants were given a combination of 4g myo-inositol and 400mg folic acid per day during pregnancy, until delivery.
Compared to placebo, myo-inositol supplementation significantly reduced the risk of GDM in pregnant mothers, as results displayed improved markers of insulin sensitivity and lowered blood glucose levels.

Myo-inositol, an isomer of inositol that occurs naturally within the body, is also found in dietary sources such as fruits, vegetables, nuts and cereals and is often considered to be part of the vitamin B-complex. While the direct mechanism of action is unclear, it is suggested that myo-inositol enhances insulin action. This link may explain the benefits of myo-inositol supplementation in preventing insulin-related metabolic disorders, such as GDM.

Although the evidence is promising, further research is required to test these effects on diverse populations, and understand the underlying mechanisms involved. Inositol should only be considered during pregnancy if blood glucose values are approaching levels that may indicate early onset GDM. In that case, inositol may be used under the guidance of a healthcare practitioner to support treatment. 


Author: Salma Dawood is a Technical Advisor at Viridian Nutrition. She holds a BSc honours degree in Human Nutrition.


1) NICE, Gestational Diabetes Available at:
2) Guo X, Guo S, Miao Z, Li Z, Zhang H. (2018) Myo-inositol lowers the risk of developing gestational diabetic mellitus in pregnancies: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials with trial sequential analysis. J Diabetes Complications. 32(3):342-348. doi: 10.1016/j.jdiacomp.2017.07.007.

The information contained in this article is not intended to treat, diagnose or replace the advice of a health practitioner. Please consult a qualified health practitioner if you have a pre-existing health condition or are currently taking medication. Food supplements should not be used as a substitute for a varied and balanced diet.


TAGS: Children's HealthMother and Baby, pregnancy, children's health


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