Inositol and choline affect your brain, but in different ways. They’re both important for building cell membranes and regulating cellular activity, but they also have unique roles. While there are a few recommendations for taking inositol and choline supplements, be sure to talk to your doctor if you have any questions about dosing.
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Benefits of Inositol and Choline
Through its ability to regulate brain chemicals, inositol may help relieve anxiety, reduce the frequency of panic attacks and improve symptoms related to depression. It’s especially beneficial for improving fertility and treating other health problems caused by polycystic ovarian syndrome.
Choline also has a role in the brain, where it ensures nerves work properly and is used to make acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter involved in memory. It prevents fats from accumulating in the liver and is essential for safely transporting fats through the bloodstream.
While your body produces inositol and choline, it doesn’t make enough choline to meet your metabolic needs. As a result, the Institute of Medicine recommends that women consume 425 milligrams of choline daily, while men should get 550 milligrams. Natural sources of choline include beef, chicken, fish and egg yolks. Whole grains and beans are two good sources of inositol.
Types of Supplements
Plain choline and choline bitartrate are the two most basic and inexpensive types of choline supplements. Both forms boost blood levels of choline and support your liver, but they’re not the best choices for the nervous system. Two other choline supplements -- CDP-Choline and Alpha GPC -- are formulated to better support the brain.
Inositol supplements are available in several different forms, but the most common one is myo-inositol. If you find supplements simply labeled as inositol, chances are they're made from myo-inositol, according to Examine.com.
Choline and inositol are sold in a wide variety of doses and forms, such as tablets, capsules and powders. As a result, there aren’t any standard guidelines other than to follow the directions on the label and not exceed the recommended daily dose unless you talk to your doctor.
You can take them separately or together. They’re sometimes combined in the same supplement because both support similar body systems, but taking choline and inositol at the same time won’t improve their effectiveness.
Potential Side Effects
Large doses of choline can cause vomiting and sweating, as well as producing a fishy body odor. Overuse of choline may lower blood pressure enough to make you feel dizzy. To avoid side effects, don’t consume more than 3,500 milligrams of choline daily, recommends the Institute of Medicine.
Inositol is generally safe, but it has been known to cause nausea, fatigue, dizziness and headaches. Inositol and choline are not known to interact with medications, but if you take prescription meds, or you have liver or kidney disease, consult your doctor before taking supplements.