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A schematic representation of the Pinitol molecule. Pinitol has been known for its effectiveness for many years in the treatment of diabetes as an insulin mimicker, but recently, wider applications for it have been identified. In Sutherlandia, Pinitol is suspected of combining with other bio-chemically active compounds to produce effects that are remarkable.


What is it?

Pinitol (sometimes referred to as D-Pinitol) is a type of sugar that occurs in many types of legumes and is classified as a Chiro-insositol (meaning it is a sugar alcohol). It is often referred to as 3-O-methyl-D-chiro-inositol in scientific literature, or more properly, 3-0-methyl-1,2,4 cis-3,5,6 trans-hexahydroxycyclohexanol.

The US Patent office granted Ostlund, Sherman and William a patent for the use of Pinitol and its derivatives in the treatment of various metabolic disorders - including diabetes, AIDS, cancer / wasting syndrome, obesity and burns trauma - in 1996. The patent number is 5,550,166.

What are its benefits?
Pinitol has been shown to not add any calories when consumed and, critically, it has been demonstrated to have a hypoglycemic effect, i.e. the ability to reduce blood sugar levels (normally by at least 10% and often as much as 20%), which is critical to individuals with diabetes. It is regarded by many doctors as one of the best insulin mimickers.

Pinitol considerably increases the ability of muscle cells to absorb glucose, with consequent benefits for sports where there are requirements for strength and endurance, with the added benefit of shortened recovery times. It also has a positive effect on the ability of muscles to store carbohydrates, allowing for muscle growth whilst permitting the burning of fat. The creatine retention promotion properties of Pinitol have been documented and because of this, Pinitol is being increasingly used by bodybuilders.

This ability to increase muscle mass has strong applications to the treatment of wasting syndrome in cancer, HIV / AIDS and tuberculosis. Sutherlandia has been used in Africa for generations to treat sufferers of tuberculosis, with impressive results.

However, it is suspected that it is not only the Pinitol in Sutherlandia that results in its remarkable properties. Whilst research is continuing, there is strong evidence that the interaction of Pinitol with the other bio-actively compounds in the Sutherlandia plant that are responsible for its remarkable properties.

Are there any side effects?
There are currently no known examples of any adverse side effects with the use of Pinitol at recommended dosage levels. There are currently no studies about the effects of Pinitol taken at severe overdose amounts over the long term.

Of Interest
The School of Medicine at the Washington University in St. Louis has some interesting comments with regards to Pinitol in the treatment of diabetes, which you can read here.


The patent grant for Pinitol is available here.


The US FDA has approved the sale of Pinitol for the treatment of diabetes. The relevant document is provided here in PDF format.


An excellent report on how Pinitol assists in creatine retention. This article is of great interest to athletes and professional body builders and is available here as a MS Word document.



Many Western countries are facing an explosion in type 2 diabetes cases over the next 15 years, a consequence of poor diet and lack of exercise. An improved diet and exercise regime can help. Please click here for more information.


A gene replacement therapy cure for Type 1 diabetes has been successfully tested on mice. Details here. A cure for humans may, however, still be 5-10 years away. Type 2 diabetes, however, is still proving a challenge.


In Pakistan, prescription of steroids is causing an increase in diabetes in some regions. The full story can be found here. In Western countries, abuse of performance enhancing drugs by some athletes is leading to similar increases.


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