Precious elements, true health "safeguards", choline and inositol acting in synergy, are basic elements of lecithin, the substance that keep fats in solution in blood and in other organic fluids, helping the body to control physiological and blood levels of cholesterol and triglycerides. Choline and inositol are micronutrients that favour regular liver function, preventing a widespread disorder among the population such as the accumulation of liver fat or fatty liver. Hepatic steatosis, commonly known as "fatty liver", surfaces when existing fat accumulates super-physiologically inside the cells of the liver tissue. In Italy, this condition affects 25% of the population and represents the most frequent and increasing hepatic problem, also among the infants. In essence, agents responsible for the appearance of steatosis act by inhibiting the synthesis of cellular proteins that make up lipoproteins, preventing thereby the liver from pouring triglycerides in the blood, and which thus accumulate therein, with apparently "silent" but potential serious consequences.
Hepatic steatosis can have various causes, for example steatosis of food origin, caused by hyperlipidic, hypoproteic or methionine and choline deficient diets, substances essential for the biosynthesis of structural fats (phospholipids) instead of reserve fats (triglycerides); in fact, foods with excessive fat content cannot be disposed of by the liver, which accumulates them to give rise to steatosis. But that is not all: an excess of simple sugars such as fructose can have a negative influence on this disorder, especially in young people and children. The food industry provides fructose-rich foods aplenty: high-fructose corn syrup, sweetened beverages, candies and industrial snacks and refined foods, etc.; still, it is worth recalling that this sugar type is also found naturally in fruit, and in regular fruit and honey juices. Given that cells do not use fructose to produce energy, 100% of our fructose intake is metabolised in the liver, which transforms it into fatty acids, LDL cholesterol and triglycerides that are subsequently stored as body fat. This explains why the excess fructose entering the liver is followed by liver fat formation, i.e. non-alcoholic hepatic steatosis (NAFLD), the most common liver disease not only in Italian children but typical of the Western world as a whole, and currently acknowledged as the warning of the liver's metabolic syndrome: a condition that combines multiple factors, such as obesity, hyperglycemia, hypertension, increases the risk of getting diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. Hepatic steatosis can also occur in other conditions such as overweight, obesity, high cholesterol and high triglyceride levels, as well as diabetes, metabolic syndrome with insulin resistance, lipoprotein deficiency, malnutrition, hepatitis C, alcohol abuse and excessive consumption of some types of drugs such as estrogens or corticosteroids.
Choline and inositol are fundamental constituents of phosphatidylcholine and phosphatidylinositol, which in turn contribute to the synthesis of lipoproteins, fat and cholesterol transporters in the blood. Their deficiency affects thus the presence of these "carriers" (transporters), i.e. LDL and VLDL, whereby liver fat accumulation is favoured.
Choline (vitamin B7) is an essential micronutrient that plays a key role with phospholipids and acetylcholine, an important neurotransmitter. Choline contributes to the maintenance of physiological liver function, being endowed with a "lipotropic" power to prevent lipid deposits in the liver.
The liver expels fats thanks to two lipoproteins, i.e. VLDL and LDL, which are in turn made up of proteins and phospholipids, among which the main phospholipid is phosphatidylcholine. This expresses the relevance of choline, the precursor of phosphatifdylcholine that allows fat to be transported from the liver to the muscles and adipose tissue. More generally, choline contributes to the maintenance of healthy liver function, as it belongs to a group of substances called "lipotrophs", designed to prevent lipid deposits in the liver. What is more, it is essential for the formation of the main components of cell membranes (phospholipids) and acetylcholine, an important substance that participates as a neurotransmitter in many brain and cognitive processes. Some studies have also shown the possible association between a diet with a high choline content and brain development in the prenatal period, with positive effects on cognitive functions and memory.
Moreover, choline also has important neuroprotective, antioxidant and protective properties for the heart, acting to counteract the harmful effects of homocysteine at the cardiovascular level, and to support the nervous function.
In the supplement that we present, we find vitamin B7 synergistically combined with inositol, as it is the basic component of lecithin, essential for using fats and cholesterol in the body. Inositol prevents the oxidation and accumulation of liver fats, and is essential for the health of the liver, kidneys and myelin. Studies have shown that inositol is an important remedy in the detoxification processes of the body and the liver, favouring the "filter" functions helping to neutralise the body's endogenous and exogenous toxins (introduced from the outside). It is also worthy of mention the lipotropic function of inositol, which is added to that of choline, both powerful agents devoted to liver fat removal (lipotropic effect). This is an essential measure for a healthy liver, as fat and bile deposits are often associated with the development of more serious disorders such as the aforementioned steatosis, but also cirrhosis and dyslipidemia of varying degrees.
Another common trait with choline is that inositol is a constituent of all cell membranes. Furthermore, research has shown that its action extends to components in various other bodily functions such as energy, glycidic (glycemia), lipidic (hepatolipidosis), and bioregulator (vitamins and hormones) metabolism, but also as a fundamental modulation factor of complex metabolic and transport functions inherent in numerous organs and tissues.
Science also tells us that the action of inositol is expressed in mitochondria, the energy centres of cells and, therefore, with a marked tropism towards those tissues and organs that are rich in it, first and foremost the liver and the brain; let us recall here that mitochondria, besides being indispensable for energy production, represent one of the most important poles of cell detoxification, which explains its marked activity in the liver. The all-important liver produces different substances useful for the synthesis of the myelin sheath that surrounds the nerves, and are necessary to transmit information between nervous system cells (neurotransmitters).