Myo-inositol soft gel capsules may prevent the risk of coffee-induced neural tube defects

Expert Opin Drug Deliv. 2012 Sep;9(9):1033-9. doi: 10.1517/17425247.2012.701616. Epub 2012 Jul 5.


Objective: Neural tube defects (NTDs) are classified as folate sensitive (about 70%) and folate resistant (about 30%); although folic acid is able to prevent the former, several data have shown that inositol may prevent the latter. It has recently been proposed that coffee intake might represent a risk factor for NTD, likely by interfering with the inositol signaling. In the present study, we tested the hypothesis that, beside affecting the inositol signaling pathway, coffee also interferes with inositol absorption.

Research design and methods: In order to evaluate coffee possible negative effects on inositol gastrointestinal absorption, a single-dose bioavailability trial was conducted. Pharmacokinetics (PK) parameters of myo-inositol (MI) powder and MI soft gelatin capsules swallowed with water and with a single 'espresso' were compared. PK profiles were obtained by analysis of MI plasma concentration, and the respective MI bioavailability was compared.

Results: Myo-inositol powder administration was negatively affected by coffee intake, thus suggesting an additional explanation to the interference between inositol deficiency and coffee consumption. On the contrary, the concomitant single 'espresso' consumption did not affect MI absorption following MI soft gelatin capsules administration. Furthermore, it was observed that MI soft gelatin capsule administration resulted in improved bioavailability compared to the MI powder form.

Conclusions: Myo-inositol soft gelatin capsules should be considered for the preventive treatment of NTDs in folate-resistant subjects due to their higher bioavailability and to the capability to reduce espresso interference.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biological Availability
  • Capsules
  • Coffee / adverse effects*
  • Female
  • Gelatin
  • Gels
  • Humans
  • Inositol / administration & dosage*
  • Inositol / pharmacokinetics
  • Intestinal Absorption
  • Neural Tube Defects / etiology
  • Neural Tube Defects / prevention & control*
  • Risk Factors
  • Vitamin B Complex / administration & dosage*
  • Vitamin B Complex / pharmacokinetics
  • Young Adult


  • Capsules
  • Coffee
  • Gels
  • Vitamin B Complex
  • Inositol
  • Gelatin