The liver produces and stores glycogen from excess carbohydrates, and later releases it when blood sugar levels fall too low. The liver synthesizes plasma proteins that carry oxygen and nutrients to the body tissues and plasma proteins that carry waste products back to the liver for detoxification. The liver also produces bile, a compound that emulsifies fat so that it can be broken down by digestive enzymes. A lipotropic nutrient is one that promotes or encourages the export of fat from the liver. Lipotropics are necessary for the maintenance of a healthy liver as well as burning the exported fat for additional energy. Without lipotropics such as choline and inositol, fats and bile can become trapped in the liver, causing severe problems such as cirrhosis and blocking fat metabolism. Choline is essential for fat metabolism. Choline functions as a methyl donor and it is required for proper liver function. Like inositol, choline is a lipotropic. Inositol exerts lipotropic effects as well. An “unofficial” member of the B vitamins, inositol has even been shown to relieve depression and panic attacks. Methionine, an essential amino acid, is the major lipotropic compound in humans. When estrogen levels are high, the body requires more methionine. Estrogens reduce bile flow through the liver and increase bile cholesterol levels. Methionine helps deactivate estrogens.
This vitamin is important to keep the brain and nervous system functioning normally and for the formation of red blood cells. By synthesizing and regulating DNA, B12 is involved in cellular metabolism. It also plays a vital role in fatty acid synthesis and energy production. Many medications, certain medical conditions, and the normal aging process can lead to a B12 deficiency.