green-422995_1280Have you heard of choline and inositol? These little-known nutrients are members of the B-complex family. They are valued for their ability to break down fat and improve memory and brain function. While inositol is not a true vitamin because our bodies can make small amounts of it in the liver, it is often found in B-complex supplements because it works in conjunction with choline and because we cannot produce enough of these nutrients and have to obtain them either via food or supplements.

Choline and inositol help to form a compound called lecithin which helps break down fats. This controls the build up of cholesterol and can also help with weight control.They also help to maintain cell membranes and choline, which is sometimes referred to as vitamin B4, is used in the production of acetylcholine, a chemical that transmits messages between nerves and muscles. It also helps cleanse your system by enabling the liver to eliminate toxins more effectively.

Deficiency and Sources

A deficiency of these nutrients can lead to symptoms such as eczema, memory problems, high blood pressure, nervousness and frequent coughs and colds. It is also worthwhile noting that as there isn’t yet much information on these nutrients there is currently no recommended daily value. Supplements containing choline and inositol generally have 100mg, and nutritionists consider levels of up to 1000mg can be beneficial. One thing to be aware of though is that high doses (more than 2000mg per day) are thought to worsen depression in some cases, although research is still ongoing.

However, while food processing and cooking destroy choline and inositol, they are found in a range of foods including liver and steak, egg yolks, brewer’s yeast, peanuts, spinach, wholemeal bread and citrus fruits.