More about D-Pinitol
D-Pinitol is a form of the B vitamin inositol that was initially discovered in the leaves of a plant called Bougainvillea spectabilis, which had been used in traditional healing medicine for many diabetic associated conditions. Further studies found it to have insulin-like properties but without causing hypoglycemia in individuals. D-Pinitol has now become one of the better studied insulin mimickers in the supplement industry and is proving to be an excellent aid in improving glucose metabolism.
What does insulin do?
Insulin is thought of as one of the most anabolic (muscle-building) hormones in our bodies, and one of its main jobs is to regulate the uptake of glucose, a source of energy, into your cells. Cells that need glucose have specific insulin receptors on their surfaces, and when the insulin binds to these receptors, it ensures correct glucose utilization.
Most healthy people convert food into glucose, which is the essential source of energy for the normal function of cells in your body. Insulin regulates the uptake of glucose into your cells. So, if your insulin isn't working efficiently, your cells aren't getting energy, and ultimately, neither will you. When glucose enters your cell, it's metabolized into carbon dioxide and water to form ATP (adenosine triphosphate)... or energy!
Due to our eating habits, moods, or physical output, glucose levels can be up and down on a rollercoaster ride all day. When glucose levels are high (e.g., right after you've eaten), your body releases insulin to help regulate glucose to proper levels. When glucose levels are low (e.g., after you've exercised), your body converts stored glycogen and fat into glucose, providing you with the energy you need.
This constant roller coaster ride can often lead to poor glucose metabolism, and the medical profession now estimates that 25 to 50% of adult Americans potentially have poor glucose metabolisms. This is where insulin does not function effectively. For athletes, weight trainers, and active people in general, proper glucose metabolism is essential, not only for ensuring prolonged periods of energy but also to increase the volume of muscles.
How pinitol works
This is where pinitol comes in. Studies have shown in animals and in humans that pinitol is capable of lowering blood glucose levels and improves use of glucose in cells. In other words, it can mimic the hormone insulin. Dr. John Zenk, a member of the American board of Internal Medicine, explains that D-pinitol belongs to a family of compounds called inositols. When insulin binds to its receptor, these members of the inositol family are released in the cell membrane, so they may aid in the conversion of glucose into useful energy.
Kreider and Almada, in a more recent study, showed how D-pinitol affects whole body creatine retention. They also demonstrated that when low doses of pinitol (.5 grams taken twice per day) were taken with five grams of creatine supplemented four times per day, the body retained creatine in a manner similar to when creatine is consumed with high amounts of carbohydrates. This could mean the end for all those high-carbohydrate (and high-calorie) "enhanced creatine delivery" products and an answer for people wishing to get the best out of their creatine while still maintaining low calorie (and simple sugar) intake.
D-Pinitol is an exciting and safe nutrient you many choose to consider to reduce calorie consumption when supplementing with creatine. It also is showing promise for the millions of Americans now suffering from insufficient functioning of insulin in the body and the ailments that come with it.