Pinitol- potential for diabetes, prostate cancer, polycystic ovaries.... and body building.
Updated: Jul 3, 2020
Pinitol is a simple sugar alcohol found at quite high quantities (up to 10%) in red clover, and is naturally found in many other legumes (1). It has attracted a lot of interest as it has experimental effects upon glucose metabolism and insulin resistance.
Certain studies suggest that pinitol treatment can help insulin to reduce blood glucose levels in patients with type 2 diabetes (2,3). However, not all studies agree with this (4,5), and more research is required to clarify pinitols efficacy as a treatment for insulin resistance. However, experimental studies found taking pinitol alongside anti-diabetic medications to be free from side effects (4,6).
Pinitol is also a candidate treatment for many other conditions such as prostate cancer (7,8) and polycystic ovaries (9). Much research is required to confirm the potential of pinitol or its derivatives in this area.
However, one accepted use for pinitol which is rapidly gaining a following is in the health and lifestyle sector. Pinitols insulin sensitization characteristics help to augment creatine retention in muscles, thereby optimizing benefits from training regimes (10). The taking of pinitol as a nutritional supplement is growing globally at a massive rate (11).
(1) Yates, S. A., Swain, M. T., Hegarty, M. J., Chernukin, I., Lowe, M., Allison, G. G., ... & Skøt, L. (2014). De novo assembly of red clover transcriptome based on RNA-Seq data provides insight into drought response, gene discovery and marker identification. BMC genomics, 15(1), 453.
(2) (2) Kim, M. J., Yoo, K. H., Kim, J. H., Seo, Y. T., Ha, B. W., Kho, J. H., ... & Chung, C. H. (2007). Effect of pinitol on glucose metabolism and adipocytokines in uncontrolled type 2 diabetes. Diabetes research and clinical practice, 77(3), S247-S251.
(3) Kim, H. J., Park, K. S., Lee, S. K., Min, K. W., Han, K. A., Kim, Y. K., & Ku, B. J. (2012). Effects of pinitol on glycemic control, insulin resistance and adipocytokine levels in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus. Annals of nutrition and metabolism, 60(1), 1-5.
(4) Davis, A., Christiansen, M. A. R. K., Horowitz, J. F., Klein, S., Hellerstein, M. K., & Ostlund, R. E. (2000). Effect of pinitol treatment on insulin action in subjects with insulin resistance. Diabetes care, 23(7), 1000-1005.
(5) Campbell, W. W., Haub, M. D., Fluckey, J. D., Ostlund Jr, R. E., Thyfault, J. P., Morse-Carrithers, H., ... & Birge, Z. K. (2004). Pinitol supplementation does not affect insulin-mediated glucose metabolism and muscle insulin receptor content and phosphorylation in older humans. The Journal of nutrition, 134(11), 2998-3003.
(6) Ku, B. J., Kim, H. J., & Park, K. S. (2007). The clinical study to evaluate the safety and efficacy of D-chiro-inositol in patients with type 2 diabetes. The Korean Journal of Medicine, 72(1), 29-36.
(7) Lin, T. H., Tan, T. W., Tsai, T. H., Chen, C. C., Hsieh, T. F., Lee, S. S., ... & Tang, C. H. (2013). D-pinitol inhibits prostate cancer metastasis through inhibition of αVβ3 integrin by modulating FAK, c-Src and NF-κB pathways. International journal of molecular sciences, 14(5), 9790-9802.
(8) Anandakumar, P., Vanitha, M. K., Gizaw, M., & Dereje, G. (2018). A review on the diverse effects of D-Pinitol. Adv J Pharm Life sci Res, 6(1), 1-7.
(9) Nestler, J. E., Jakubowicz, D. J., Reamer, P., Gunn, R. D., & Allan, G. (1999). Ovulatory and metabolic effects of D-chiro-inositol in the polycystic ovary syndrome. New England Journal of Medicine, 340(17), 1314-1320.
(10)Greenwood, M. G. L. K. R., Kreider, R. B., Rasmussen, C., Almada, A. L., & Earnest, C. P. (2001). D-pinitol augments whole body creatine retention in man. Journal of Exercise Physiology Online, 4(4).