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Choline & Inositol: Nutrients

10 April 2020

Hi everyone and welcome back to Health Bunker, we hope this latest article finds you fit and well.

Over the past few months we have written about nutrients and in today’s article we will cover the importance of Choline and Inositol also known sometimes as Vitamin B4 and Vitamin B8.

To live an optimum life we need essential nutrients. For our endocrine systems, immune functions, brain development and cognitive functions, cell membranes, organ health and basically everything the body requires for the 1000s of different chemical interactions every second of every day.

We only have one body, I know that’s obvious but when we’re sick modern medicine or treatments only look at the problem areas. What if essential nutrients play a part in our wellness, and what if we do not get anywhere near enough through our diets?

Diet is a key area for focus when it comes to nutrient deficiencies and the links to disease. In this Health Bunker article we will look at observational studies and nutritional research that shows just how important Choline and Inositol is for our health. We will cover more less everything you need to know about Choline and Inositol, why we need them, what foods contain them and what happens if we are deficient in these two important nutrients. We will also show the different forms of choline and inositol.

We will start with Choline then cover Inositol.

What is Choline?

Choline (pronounced Ko-lean) is a recently discovered nutrient, in fact it was only acknowledged as an essential nutrient in 1998 by the Institute of Medicine. Many people, probably the majority of the population are not meeting the required dietary intake of this essential vitamin.

Choline is an essential nutrient which means it is required so our bodies can perform normal functions and the optimal human health. Choline is a water soluble compound and is neither a vitamin or mineral. Because choline is similar to B complex vitamins it is grouped together with B Vitamins. Choline affects numerous different vital bodily functions. It impacts liver functions, brain development, muscle movements, and is an essential element for our central nervous system. Meaning that inadequate daily levels of dietary choline will impact our health.


Choline is an Essential Nutrient

Humans produce choline via the liver, as ‘phosphatidylcholine’. Choline is a component of phosphatidylcholine and ‘lecithin’ is also a component too. But the amounts we need means that enough can never be produced to meet human needs, so we must get additional choline through our diets and dietary supplements.

Choline exists in both water soluble and fat soluble molecules. Our bodies transport and absorb choline slightly differently depending it’s form.


Choline Benefits

Choline plays an important role in many of our bodies crucial functions.

  • Cell Maintenance: Our bodies use choline to produce fats that make up cellular membranes.
  • Cell Messaging: Choline is part of the process that produces compounds that act as cell messengers.
  • DNA Synthesis: Choline along with other essential nutrients like vitamin B12 and folate can affect gene expression.
  • Fat Transport and Metabolism: Choline helps to metabolise fats. It was reported that choline plays an important role in the metabolism of fat; it breaks fat down for use as an energy source. This action of choline makes it valuable in preventing conditions like fatty liver or excess fat in the blood. Choline is essential for removing fat from the liver.
  • Healthy Central Nervous System (CNS): Choline is essential in the manufacture of acetylcholine. Acetylcholine is one of the most abundant neurotransmitters in the human body. It is found in the central nervous system (CNS) and the peripheral nervous system (PNS). It is one of the body’s most important neurotransmitters, which are chemicals used to transmit signals from one cell to another.
  • Improving Memory and Brain Development: The brain needs choline as it speeds up the creation and release of acetylcholine. This protein carries signals among brain cells and is important for memory and assorted other brain functions.

Other benefits include, reduce blood pressure, lower risk of Neural Tube, Choline is involved in many bodily processes including; Fat transport and metabolism, cell structure and cell messaging, DNA synthesis, nervous system maintenance, cognitive health and much more.

What Foods are High In Choline

Here’s an overview of some choline rich foods. Dietary sources generally come in the form of phosphatidylcholine from lecithin;

  • Beef Liver: 1 slice or 68g contains 290 mg.
  • Chicken Liver : 1 slice or 68g contains 222 mg.
  • Beef Mince: 1 serving contains 72 mg.
  • Chicken Breast: 1 serving contains 72 mg.
  • Eggs: 1 large hard boiled egg contains about 113 mg of choline.
  • Fresh Cod: 85g contains around 248 mg.
  • Salmon: 110g contains around 62.7 mg.
  • Cauliflower: ½ cup 118 ml, contains about 24.2 mg.
  • Broccoli: ½ cup 118 ml, contains about 31.3 mg.
  • Soybean Oil: 1 tablespoon (15 ml) contains around 47.3 mg.

 

What is the Best Form of Choline

Lecithin is the most common source of choline. Foods like eggs and soy products are filled with lecithin. Lecithin has been tested on people with ulcerative colitis to improve their digestion. Lecithin has emulsifying qualities and it contributes to the chain reaction that improves mucus in our intestines. This makes the digestive process easier and protects the delicate lining of our digestive systems.

Even if you don’t have ulcerative colitis, other digestive issues like irritable bowel syndrome may benefit from lecithin.

 

How much should I take

Citicoline (CDP – Choline) is an efficient source of choline and provides the acetylcholine precursor. CDP-Choline has shown that it can slow down or solve cognitive decline in elderly patients with memory loss.

CDP-Choline is neuroprotective and its actions pass along with ease through the blood brain barrier making it an efficient source of choline. As well as improvements to learning, memory CDP-Choline increases noradrenaline and dopamine levels. This makes CDP-Choline a powerful supplement for brain, CHS and heart health.

Alpha Glycerylphosphorylcholine (Alpha GPC), a potent form of choline. It is found in abundance in the brain and dairy products. It has been used successfully in dementia patients and also to enhance memory and learning. Daily Alpha GPC supplementation need not be high.

Choline Bitartrate or choline salts are probably the cheapest source of choline. It is a weaker form than CDP-choline or Alpha GPC but it will still provide effective cognitive enhancement if properly dosed.

 

How Much Choline Should I Take?

  • Lecithin 0 – 7500 mg per day morning or night, recommended starting point 2500 mg
  • Citicoline (CDPCholine) 0 – 750 mg per day in the morning, recommended starting point 250 mg
  • L-Alpha Glycerylphosphorylcholine (Alpha GPC) 0 – 900 mg per day (morning), recommended starting point 300 mg
  • Choline Bitartrate 0 – 3500 mg per day (morning), recommended starting point 650 mg

*Please note these are not Health Bunker recommendations. Please see link

 

 

What are the Symptoms of Choline Deficiency?

Some of the signs of choline deficiency are;

  • Memory Loss
  • Cognitive decline
  • Fatty Liver
  • Nerve Damage
  • Muscle Pain
  • Increased Fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Disability in learning
  • Low concentration

 

Choline Research and Studies

Framingham Heart Study & Framingham Heart Study Offspring Study

A team of researchers from Boston University and Harvard estimated the choline intake of the offspring study’s participants from their answers to detailed questionnaires about the foods they ate. Then they looked for correlations between choline intake and brain health, as assessed by tests of memory and other cognitive abilities and MRI scans of the brain.

Two findings popped out. First, people whose diets included a lot of choline were more likely to do well on the memory and cognitive ability tests. Second, the MRI scans showed that high choline consumption in the past was associated with healthier brain tissue.

University of Eastern Finland Study

A new study by researchers at the University of Eastern Finland is the first to observe that dietary intake of phosphatidylcholine is associated with a reduced risk of dementia. Phosphatidylcholine was also linked to enhanced cognitive performance. The main dietary sources of phosphatidylcholine were eggs and meat. The findings were published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

The new study showed the risk of dementia was 28% lower in men with the highest intake of dietary phosphatidylcholine, when compared to men with the lowest intake. Men with the highest intake of dietary phosphatidylcholine also excelled in tests measuring their memory and linguistic abilities.

50 million people suffer from Dementia worldwide, so the findings are significant. That number is expected to grow, Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia. There is no cure.

 

Possible Choline Content Side Effects

Long term higher than required doses of choline can produce low blood pressure, fishy body odor, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting. The adult daily upper limit is 3,500 mg per day.

What is Inositol?

Inositol is a carbohydrate that is found in our bodies. It is also found in food and dietary supplements. There are various forms of inositol and each has a chemical structure similar to sugars that are found in our blood – glucose.

Inositol plays an important part in many different bodily functions, and the possible health benefits have been studied. Inositol supplements may help various health issues, including anxiety and fertility disorders, plus other evidence based health effects.

Inositol has been unofficially referred to as ‘vitamin B8’ and is present in all animal tissues. The highest levels are in the brain and the heart. It’s part of the cell membrane (outer part) and helps the liver process fats as well as helping muscles and nerves function smoothly.

 

Inositol Benefits?

  • Anxiety reduction by affecting the processes that make neurotransmitters, which are responsible for relaying information around our brain. Serotonin is an important neurotransmitter affected by inositol. Serotonin has many roles but it impacts behaviour and mood changes. Researchers have studied whether inositol supplementation can reduce symptoms often associated with serotonin and the brain for conditions like; anxiety disorders like, panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
  • May Help Blood Sugar Control, by improving insulin sensitivity. We become insulin resistant when our body fails to respond to insulin, and is probably the key factor in metabolic syndrome. Inositol can be used because it produces the molecules involved in insulins cellular activity. A 6 month study of 80 women with metabolic syndrome who were post menopausal found that 4g of inositol a day improved insulin sensitivity, blood pressure and cholesterol more than placebos.
  • Fertility in women who have PCOS may be improved with inositol. Studies have shown that inositol improves the functions of the ovaries and fertility of women with PCOS. Problems with insulin resistance may be a cause of reduced fertility in women with PCOS. Studies have found that inositol supplements may improve menstrual cycle regularity, ovulation and pregnancy rates in women with PCOS.
  • Depression could be reduced with inositol supplements. Inositol affects neurotransmitters in the brain, so it has been looked at as a possible treatment for depression. 12g of inositol per day if taken for 4 weeks can reduce symptoms of depression in a placebo study. A smaller study showed 6g per day reduced symptoms in 9 out of 11 participants.

 

Other Possible Benefits of Inositol

  • Weight Loss in women with PCOS
  • Blood Lipids a reduction of lipids like cholesterol.
  • Blood Pressure some studies found small reductions in blood pressure.

 

What is the Best Form of Inositol

Inositol Hexaphosphate (IP-6) a vitamin like substance that has been used to treat and prevent cancers, including prostate cancer, breast cancer, liver cancer and blood cancer. A book called “IP-6, Nature’s Revolutionary Cancer-Fighter” by prominent IP-6 researcher Abulkalam M. Shamsuddin, MD, Ph.D, has popularized IP-6 as an anti-cancer tool. IP-6 is also used for boosting the immune system, treating anemia, and preventing heart disease and kidney stones.

D-chiro-inositol & MYO-Inositol is a supplement that may lead to weight loss in women with PCOS. According to research MYO-Inositol may be beneficial for mental health issues and metabolic disorders.

 

How Much Inositol Should I take?

Manufacturers recommend the following doses to support certain conditions;

  • Metabolic Syndrome – 2g twice a day
  • PCOS – 2g twice a day
  • Lithium related Psoriasis up to 6g once a day
  • Anxiety and Panic Attacks up to 12g daily

 

Foods High in Inositol

  • Beef Mince, Liver and Sirloin steak
  • Eggs
  • Chicken Breast
  • Certain Fruits, Citrus (other than lemons)
  • Grains
  • Beans
  • Nuts
  • Oats, Bran
  • Green Beans, Red Kidney Beans

 

Inositol Research Studies

The American Journal of Psychiatry: A double-blind study found that a daily 12-gram dose of inositol improved depression scores compared to people provided a placebo, the results have not been replicated elsewhere.

 

International Journal of Endocrinology

A 2016 pilot study published in the International Journal of Endocrinology reported that people with type 2 diabetes given myo-inositol and d-chiro-inositol daily along with their anti-diabetes drugs had a significant drop in their fasting blood glucose (192.6 mg/dL down to 160.9 mg/dL) and A1C (8.6 percent down to 7.7 percent) after three months.

 

North American Menopause Society

Another small study suggested that myo-inositol may aid metabolic syndrome in menopausal women. Published in the journal Menopause the research studied women for six months while using myo-inositol supplements, they found that the women had improvements in blood pressure and cholesterol levels than the placebo group.

 

Endocrine Practice Magazine

D-Chiro-Inositol could help to manage PCOS. Published in the Endocrine Practice this small study looked at 20 women with PCOS and were given either a placebo or 6g of D-chiro-inositol once daily for six to eight weeks.

The results showed that inositol helped treat several issues linked with PCOS, including high blood pressure and elevated blood fats. PCOS causes higher testosterone levels, all of these imbalances reduced overall by 73% compared to 0% for the placebo.

Generally speaking, a normalization of hormonal balances translates to an improvement of PCOS symptoms.

Health Bunker

Choline

Underlying issues can mean that we are deficient in important nutrients. Choline is essential to cognitive functioning like, memory, learning and general brain health. Choline is also important for our central nervous system, cell membranes, and DNA synthesis.

Choline protests us against dementia and other debilitating disorders like Alzeimer’s disease. We can get a lot of our required choline from food, but our modern diets of fast foods and over processed produce is often devoid of important nutrients.

It may be useful to add choline supplementation to our dietary regimes. This can be done via supplementation in capsule form, powders or intravenous treatments. There are many useful types of choline, we have used all of them in our Lyme disease recovery.; Lecithin, Choline Bitartrate, CDP-Choline and Alpha GPC. We tend to use Choline Bitartrate mainly and add lecithin to our green juices, when used with good fats it can be a great phospholipid exchange ingredient.

This means it expels the bad fats from places like the brain and leaves the choline in place. We felt huge benefits from this process. This has undoubtedly helped with reducing anxieties caused by Lyme and digestive disturbances too.

 

Inositol

Nic is still using D-chiro-inositol & MYO-Inositol, this has been one of the big helps in some of the hormonal damage caused by lyme disease and general age (40). According to her it reduces some uncomfortable symptoms of her monthly cycle especially when used with evening primrose and choline.

We found a fantastic brand that utilises both D-chiro-inositol & MYO-Inositol together. We also found using choline and other phospholipids like phosphatidylserine had a very calming effect that balanced the mind.

For more information contact us via the website.

Eat Well. Be Well.
Dom & Nic
It’s your life. Own it.

*Disclaimer – Please note, we are not Doctors or trained medical professionals. We are not giving medical advice. Check with your Doctor or health practitioner before trying anything.

 

References and Sources of Information;

N I H Gov .co.uk
https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Choline-Consumer/
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4096089/
https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Choline-HealthProfessional/
https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Choline-HealthProfessional/
R X List .com
https://www.rxlist.com/phosphatidylcholine/supplements.htm
Web M D .com
https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-966/lecithin
food and nutrition board .com
http://www.nationalacademies.org/hmd/About-HMD/Leadership-Staff/HMD-Staff-Leadership-Boards/Food-and-Nutrition-Board.aspx
Science Direct .com
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/08/190806101530.htm
https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/neuroscience/sphingomyelin
Medical News Today.com
https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/327117#about
Health Line . com
https://www.healthline.com/health/lecithin-benefits
https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/what-is-choline#functions
https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/inositol-benefits
Wikipedia .com ais for choline
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DNA_synthesis
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Choline
Vita Choline
https://vitacholine.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/Choline_Everybody_WhitePaper_Web.pdf
Www. Very Well Mind .com
https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-acetylcholine-2794810
Harvard .com
https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/a-possible-brain-food-that-youve-probably-never-heard-of
The Linus Pauling Institute .edu
https://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/other-nutrients/choline
Examine .com
https://examine.com/nutrition/what-source-of-choline-should-i-use/
Karger
https://www.karger.com/Article/Abstract/354707
Britannica
https://www.britannica.com/science/norepinephrine
Framingham Heart Study
https://framinghamheartstudy.org/breast milk
Winchester Hospital
https://www.winchesterhospital.org/health-library/article?id=21766
Web M D
https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-775/ip-6
Cancer Prevention Research
https://cancerpreventionresearch.aacrjournals.org/content/6/1/40
Live Strong
https://www.livestrong.com/article/506226-foods-high-in-inositol/
Psychiatry online
https://ajp.psychiatryonline.org/doi/abs/10.1176/ajp.152.5.792
Hindawi
https://www.hindawi.com/journals/ije/2016/9132052/
Menopause
https://journals.lww.com/menopausejournal/pages/currenttoc.aspx
Endocrine Practice
https://www.aace.com/publications/endocrine-practice-journal-clinical-endocrinologists
Very Well
https://www.verywellmind.com/inositol-what-should-i-know-about-it-89466
Journals AACE
https://journals.aace.com/doi/abs/10.4158/EP.8.6.417
Nature .com
https://www.nature.com/articles/npp201557