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What Are Choline & Inositol?

Choline and inositol are nutrients that are crucial for the cells of the human body and for the transport of fat and cholesterol from the liver. They are also necessary for proper functioning of the neurotransmitters acetylocholine and serotonin, which regulate mood and muscle movements. Both nutrients can be found in the body or obtained through various food sources.


Choline is an essential nutrient that is found mostly in phospholipids, which act as a barrier between all cells of the body. According to the Linus Pauling Institute, choline is also important for energy metabolism through lipid transport from the liver. In addition, choline is needed to make acetylocholine, a neurotransmitter whose that assists in the proper functioning of the central and peripheral nervous systems.

Choline RDA and Food Sources

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The Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine was unable to calculate an official RDA for choline due to a lack of evidence, so they instead proposed an adequate intake level, the Linus Pauling Institute notes. Adequate intake levels of choline are 550 mg a day for adult males and 425 mg for adult women. The human body can only synthesize a small amount of choline, so it is important that the nutrient is consumed through a healthy diet. Choline is in foods such as liver, eggs, wheat germ, milk, shrimp and salmon.


Like choline, inositol is important for the formation and maintenance of healthy cells, as well as lipid transport. This nutrient is found on the outer part of all cell membranes and plays a role in the normal functioning of the central nervous system by transmitting messages throughout the nerves. Inositol occurs naturally in the body, but can also be obtained in foods such as wheat germ, soybeans, nuts, whole grains and citrus fruits.

Inositol for Depression

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Because of the important role inositol plays in the central nervous system and in the release of the neurotransmitter serotonin, inositol supplements are often used to treat depression in people with lower than normal levels of the nutrient. According to, research shows that inositol has therapeutic effects on other various central nervous system disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease, obsessive compulsive disorder and panic attacks.

Unofficial B-Vitamin

Going by the name vitamin B8, inositol is unofficially considered a part of the B-complex group. This is possibly due to the fact that the roles these vitamins and nutrients play in the human body are very similar. The B-complex is made up of eight essential water-soluble vitamins that are important for normal growth. Like inositol, the B-vitamins are also crucial for the nervous system, energy metabolism and cell formation.