Lipotropic is a term that describes a compound that breaks down fat. For some commercial dietary supplements, lipotropic means choline. According to the Linus Pauling Institute, the human body does produce choline naturally. It is an essential nutrient that helps to build cell membranes and works to transport fat. It is a component in metabolism. A lipotropic diet may refer to supplements that help liver functioning or foods rich in choline. You should not take a dietary supplement, including a lipotropic, without consulting your physician.
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Even though your body produces small amounts of choline, the primary lipotropic, you must also get some of this essential nutrient from your diet. Choline is found in phospholipids, a specialized fat molecule. When you ingest food that contains fat and cholesterol, it goes to the liver. From there, your body will transport these components to areas in need. A deficiency of the nutrient choline can lead to a condition known as fatty liver, an accumulation of fat on the surface of the organ.
Choline is a component found in most B-complex vitamins, according to Drugs.com. The goal of a lipotropic diet program is to increase the transport of fat from the liver. Medical weight loss clinic NexSlim describes a lipotropic supplement as a compound that enhances liver function to speed up fat removal. There is no clinical data to support the use of a lipotropic supplement to lose weight. Lipotropic supplements may help the liver to dispose of fat more efficiently.
The best source of lipotropics may be food. The Linus Pauling Institute explains choline is found in milk, eggs, liver and peanuts. The Food and Nutrition Board recommends adults ingest at least 425 to 550mg of choline each day for a healthy diet. For example, one 8 oz. glass of skim milk has 38mg of choline and one egg contains 126mg. Most individuals do not need supplemental lipotropics. You should not take a vitamin supplement unless your doctor recommends it.
There are many benefits to ensuring your body gets the necessary amount of choline. A 2008 study by researchers from the Mt. Sinai School of Medicine founds that increasing choline in the body may help to reduce the risk of breast cancer. According to the Linus Pauling Institute, choline deficiency may play a role in the development of liver cancer. It is unclear whether increasing dietary lipotropics will aid in weight loss by increasing the metabolism of fat. You must reduce calories and increase exercise.
Your body requires some lipotropics to maintain a healthy liver, but too many may result in toxicity. The Linus Pauling Institute warns that 10 to 16g a day of choline may cause body odor, vomiting, increased saliva and sweating. The FNB states the tolerable level of dietary choline is 3.5g for adults. You should not begin a lipotropic diet without talking to your doctor first. Some supplements will interfere with prescription medications.