New Nutritional Fortifier---Inositol
On May 11, 2022, National Health Commission Announcement No. 2 announced inositol as a new nutritional fortifier, which brought the industry back to the forefront of inositol as a raw material. As a "frequenter" in baby formula, Foods for Special Medical Purpose and women's functional food, inositol itself has many directions to explore. After being approved as a new nutritional fortifier, it may usher in a broader development.
Today we will give you an overview of inositol, an ingredient that has been buried for too long.
What You Need To Know About Inositol
1) Structure and mechanism of action
Inositol is a six-carbon cyclic alcohol. In terms of mechanism, inositol, with the molecular formula C6H12O6, is exactly the same as glucose. It is a slightly sweet sugar, about 50% as sweet as sucrose, a good carbohydrate.
As the precursor of inositol phosphates and lipids, inositol is involved in various life activities of the body, such as growth regulation, biofilm formation and signal transduction, etc. It is an essential nutritional factor for human beings. It has been added as an effective ingredient in functional foods, health foods and drugs according to the 2010 national standards.
Inositol, commonly known as myocardial sugar, is essential for the growth of human beings, animals and microorganisms. The daily dosage of the human body is 1 ~ 2 grams per day. It has similar activity to vitamin B1 and was once classified as a B vitamin. New research shows that the body can make inositol from glucose.
The biggest food sources of inositol are organic whole grains, nuts, cantaloupe, citrus fruits, Lima beans, raisins, and cabbage.
The main source of inositol in infants is breast milk. The content of inositol in human colostrum is about 35.5mg/100mL, the average of mature breast milk is 14mg/100mL, goat milk is 5.3mg/100mL, and cow milk is 2.1mg/100mL. Because the inositol content in cow milk is low, baby formula is usually supplemented with some inositol.
3) Nine isomers
They are Myo－inositol, D－chiro－inositol, L－chiro－nositol, scyllo－inositol, epi－ino-sitol, muco－inositol, allo－inositol, cis－inositol and neo－inositol.
About 99% of inositol in nature is myo－inositol (Myo), and about 1% is D－chiro－inositol (DCI). There are few inositol in other structures. At present, the industry mainly focuses on the research and production of Myo and DCI, and these two inositols can also be converted into each other under the action of epimerase.
Application of D－chiro－inositol
The study of D－chiro－inositol (DCI) is also a hot topic at present. Several studies have shown that it can regulate the function of autonomous follicle development and oocyte quality in patients with polycystic disease.
DCI is a signaling substance involved in insulin signaling in the human body. After taking inositol normally, it will be automatically converted into DCI, which can regulate blood glucose, menstruation and improve PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome). Patients with insulin resistance cannot convert to DCI even after taking inositol, so they need to take DCI directly to regulate blood glucose, menstruation, and improve PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome).
The mature technology of DCI is derived from carob extract, which is also classified as natural flavor according to regulations. It can be added in various kinds of food according to production requirements, and is commonly used in chocolate, functional candy, beverage, etc.
Application of terminal product
According to the current regulations and applications, inositol is not only a food nutrition fortifier, but also a health food and a medicine. Conventional applications include the following directions:
1）Application of drug
As drugs, there are inositol tablets, Inositol Nicotinate Tablets, and vitamin tablets with inositol added. The indications of inositol tablets are usually described as being used for fatty liver, hepatitis, early cirrhosis and arteriosclerosis, hyperlipidemia, etc.
2）Application of milk powder for special medical purpose
Special formulas for preterm infants and young children contain twice or more inositol than mature breast milk to meet the infant's demand for inositol, a functional sugar.
As an important nutritional fortifier, inositol is widely added to infant formula food. From the market products, inositol can also be found in most infant formula milk powder.
Inositol can be used as food, health food or medicine. It is also a carbohydrate with special physiological functions.
Although it can be easily found in baby formula, food for special medical purpose and functional food for women, it is only used as a special vitamin at present, and has not been more diversified and comprehensive development and application.
On the whole, the current research on the mechanism and efficacy of inositol at a deeper level is still relatively limited and lacks rich and solid basic research support. In terms of preparation process, inositol preparation process is very simple and there is no barrier, which causes that inositol is not paid attention to. But it is important to note that inositol has an excellent range of applications and no regulatory hurdles, and if companies can study it further, inositol may have a promising future.