Role of Inositols and Inositol Phosphates in Energy Metabolism

Molecules. 2020 Nov 1;25(21):5079. doi: 10.3390/molecules25215079.


Recently, inositols, especially myo-inositol and inositol hexakisphosphate, also known as phytic acid or IP6, with their biological activities received much attention for their role in multiple health beneficial effects. Although their roles in cancer treatment and prevention have been extensively reported, interestingly, they may also have distinctive properties in energy metabolism and metabolic disorders. We review inositols and inositol phosphate metabolism in mammalian cells to establish their biological activities and highlight their potential roles in energy metabolism. These molecules are known to decrease insulin resistance, increase insulin sensitivity, and have diverse properties with importance from cell signaling to metabolism. Evidence showed that inositol phosphates might enhance the browning of white adipocytes and directly improve insulin sensitivity through adipocytes. In addition, inositol pyrophosphates containing high-energy phosphate bonds are considered in increasing cellular energetics. Despite all recent advances, many aspects of the bioactivity of inositol phosphates are still not clear, especially their effects on insulin resistance and alteration of metabolism, so more research is needed.

Keywords: IP6; energy metabolism; inositol phosphates; insulin resistance; myo-inositol.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adipocytes, White / metabolism*
  • Adipocytes, White / pathology
  • Animals
  • Energy Metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Inositol Phosphates / metabolism*
  • Insulin Resistance*
  • Signal Transduction*


  • Inositol Phosphates