Can an obscure vitamin supplement help dieters lose weight?

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Slimmers have emptied pharmacy shelves of a little-known vitamin supplement after a video claiming it helped a woman lose seven stones in six months went viral on social media.

In the TikTok clip, which has been viewed almost four million times, personal assistant Aida Azizii reveals dramatic before and after footage of her transformation and explains that it was thanks to inositol, a type of carbohydrate found in the rice.

Hundreds of copycat videos have since appeared, with others claiming it worked for them too.

Speaking to the Mail on Sunday, Aida, 25, from London, said: ‘Inositol has changed my life. I had tried everything from prescription drugs to every diet imaginable, and nothing worked like that.

Unsurprisingly, a stampede in stores followed his reveal.

Natural health store Holland & Barrett says sales of inositol supplements doubled in the week after the video, which was uploaded March 1, and is still the most searched item on its website.

THEN: Personal assistant Aida Azizii, 25, reveals dramatic before and after footage of her transformation and explains it was thanks to inositol, a type of carbohydrate found in rice

AFTER: She lost an amazing seven stones in six months and went viral on social media

AFTER: She lost an amazing seven stones in six months and went viral on social media

Independent pharmacy Landys says it received more than 700 orders in a single day on March 3.

So, could inositol really be the Holy Grail that slimmers have been looking for for a long time? The answer, oddly enough, is yes.

Also known as vitamin B8, inositol, which we naturally consume in small amounts as part of a normal diet, is thought to regulate hormone levels.

Capsules containing concentrated doses have long been touted by natural health enthusiasts to help suppress appetite and reduce cravings. Others say it can boost fertility and relieve pain issues.

Medical researchers began studying inositol about a decade ago, thinking it might have an effect similar to the prescription drug metformin, which lowers blood sugar levels and is given to people with type 2 diabetes.

“Inositol and metformin both influence levels of insulin, the hormone that controls blood sugar levels,” says Dr Channa Jayasena, a reproductive endocrinologist at Imperial College London. .

“There’s growing acceptance in the medical community that inositol has real weight loss effects, so it’s no surprise it’s taking hold.”

Also known as vitamin B8, inositol, which we naturally consume in small amounts as part of a normal diet, is thought to regulate hormone levels. [File image]

Also known as vitamin B8, inositol, which we naturally consume in small amounts as part of a normal diet, is thought to regulate hormone levels. [File image]

Recent studies have shown promise in patients with weight gain due to polycystic ovary syndrome. The condition, which affects one in ten women, occurs when fluid-filled sacs appear on the ovaries.

This distorts hormone levels, triggering symptoms of irregular periods and excessive hair growth leading to infertility.

It also increases the amount of insulin produced by the body – excessive amounts in the blood promote fat storage and increase hunger, leading to weight gain.

Patients with polycystic ovary syndrome are given metformin to help balance insulin levels and control weight, and experts have been intrigued by the idea of ​​inositol as a possible natural alternative.

A trial published in 2017 found that people with the syndrome who received inositol saw similar levels of weight loss as those who received metformin.

And an analysis of nine trials also published in 2017 concluded that women with the disease who took inositol for more than 24 weeks were more likely to see metabolic improvements – such as weight loss and reduced blood sugar – than those who did not take it.

Unsurprisingly, a stampede in stores followed her reveal after Aida posted the clip on TikTok, where it received 4 million views.

Unsurprisingly, a stampede in stores followed her reveal after Aida posted the clip on TikTok, where it received 4 million views.

Many NHS hospitals now recommend inositol for patients with polycystic ovary syndrome. ‘I advised two to start taking myo-inositol [a common form of the supplement] this week,” says Dr. Jayasena.

Aida was diagnosed with the disease at 16 and suffered from classic symptoms, including weight gain.

Doctors prescribed metformin, but although it helped Aida lose weight, she suffered debilitating side effects, including nausea, and was forced to stop the drug.

She says, “After that, my weight skyrocketed. I ate more and gained more weight. I have always been hungry.

Aida says she read about inositol six months ago: “I had tried everything and saw that it was a natural supplement and had helped loads of other women. So I asked my GP and she told me to go.

Initially, she took a single capsule containing 1 g of inositol. Within weeks, she noticed a change.

“I stopped craving sugary foods,” she says.

Natural health store Holland & Barrett says sales of inositol supplements doubled in the week after the video, which was uploaded March 1, and is still the most searched item on its website.

Natural health store Holland & Barrett says sales of inositol supplements doubled in the week after the video, which was uploaded March 1, and is still the most searched item on its website.

As the weight went down, she found the confidence to start hitting the gym and gradually increased her dose to four capsules a day – the amount shown in studies to help with weight loss.

Six months later, she had lost just over seven stones – and decided to share her story on TikTok. So, could inositol help all aspirants get leaner?

Private nutritional therapist Jackie Lynch, from west London, urges caution.

She says she would recommend inositol to anyone with polycystic ovary syndrome who was not on metformin: “If you are someone who has struggled with side effects, then inositol might work for you. .

However, she also thinks people who don’t have the disease shouldn’t take it, especially not in doses above 4g.

Studies show that taking large doses of inositol on a regular basis can lead to nausea, indigestion, and even hypoglycemia, where blood sugar levels drop too low.

She adds, “These compounds can be harsh on the gut and can lead to very uncomfortable issues if overused.”

And not all doctors are convinced by inositol. “Research only really started about a decade ago and I still think there isn’t enough to say anything definitive,” says expert Professor Naveed Sattar. in metabolism at the University of Glasgow.

He adds, “It’s possible that people who take inositol and believe they’re losing weight are actually just dieting and exercising more, but attribute the changes to the pill.”

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