Choline Clears the Fat Log Jam

May 26, 2011

Part four in our series on Fat Flushing supplements.

Although most of us have never heard of it, choline is so indispensable to health that it is even found in breast milk. Before 1998, scientists believed that the human body made adequate amounts of choline. However, after additional research, the National Academy of Sciences classified choline as an essential nutrient—and acknowledged that we can’t always produce the required amount. Unfortunately, coming up short on choline can lead to hypertension, arteriosclerosis, cirrhosis, and fatty deposits in the liver.

Choline is vital to controlling fat and cholesterol buildup in the body—regulating the kidneys, liver and gallbladder, and banishing fatigue. Studies have concluded that choline helps the body burn fat, resulting in easier weight loss while simultaneously lowering cholesterol. As an added bonus, choline helps form phosphatidylcholine, which is needed for proper mental functioning. Providing your body with adequate choline while you are young can help diminish memory deficits as you age. Choline can nourish your brain and your liver while it helps you lose weight. That’s quite a deal.

And you can’t start too young. Without choline, infants can develop abnormalities of the myelin sheath—the protective encasement of nerves and brain cells. Sometimes adequate choline can help ease the spasms and involuntary movements of Tourettes’ syndrome and Huntington’s disease.

Just the Facts
• Lecithin (derived from soybeans) is one of our only choline-based food sources, along with eggs.
• Choline is an essential nutrient sometimes referred to as vitamin B4. It is key to the formation of one of the body’s central neurotransmitters, acetylcholine.
• Just a few weeks on a choline-deficient diet has been shown to cause abnormal liver function.
• Along with methionine and inositol, choline is very effective for helping the liver convert estradiol into estriol—the safer form of estrogen. In fact, may estrogen-based disorders (fibrocystic breast syndrome, uterine fibroids, and endometriosis) may benefit from added choline, along with other nutritional therapies.

Boost the Benefits
• You may want to take choline supplements early in the day because some people find that choline interferes with their sleep if taken in the evening.
• Taking choline right before a meal is fine, although it works equally well when taken with food.

Recommended Usage: Research suggests that a reasonable amount of choline supplementation is between 250 and 1,000 milligrams daily. When I developed the Fat Flush protocol, I made sure to include choline in one component of the Fat Flush Starter Kit because I knew that it was so deficient in people’s diets. Based on a careful review of clients’ diet histories, I suggest 300 to 350 milligrams of choline per day. Taking one Weight Loss Formula capsule three times daily gives you 336 milligrams of choline.

Part One: Fat Flushing CLA
Part Two: GLA: The Good Omega 6 that Flushes Fat
Part Three: Feed Your Liver with Milk Thistle

Related Articles and Podcasts

Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS, is an award-winning New York Times bestselling author of more than thirty books including The Fat Flush Plan series and her latest book, Radical Metabolism. She’s been rewriting the rules of nutrition for more than 40 years and is internationally recognized as a pioneer in the field of diet, detox and women’s health issues. 

For a FREE daily dose of tips and strategies for maintaining healthy weight, conquering insomnia, and much more…check out my Radical Health Tips.

I’d like to meet and greet you on my Facebook groups, so won’t you check us out at the Radical Metabolism RevolutionFat Flush Nation, or my Inner Circle!


  1. Gwen

    The article states that choline helps to lower cholesterol. I am wondering if that is total, or just the “bad”?

  2. administrator

    Hi Gwen:
    That would be total cholesterol – not LDL!

  3. Pam

    I was reading an article on the effects of choline on reducing diabetes. How much would you recommend to reduce this, as well as high cholesterol?


  4. Administrator

    Dr. ALG states, “research suggests that a reasonable amount of choline supplementation is between 250 and 1,000 milligrams daily.” This is the best range for supplementation to effectively lower cholesterol!

  5. Lisa

    Miss Ann,

    I was reading your blog on choline and the great health benefits that come with it. You mentioned that it is sometimes referred to as vitamin B4, and I know that you have your own line of supplements through UniKey. I would love to take advantage of this particular nutrient, but unfortunately I cannot afford to go through UniKey to get it. I was wondering if you have any recommendations as to an alternative place to purchase this? Thank you.

  6. Administrator

    Choline is available in most health food stores and through Standard Process.

  7. Pam

    Hi, I started out with a fatty liver now progressed to cirossis of the liver. My numbers are all wacked out. Also ovary is the size of a orange. the other one was the size of grapefruit 17yrs. Ago was removed and part of tube. They don’t want to remove this one because it may mess with my liver more. My stomach blew up so big now they say I have asistes and have me on water pills . Do you think chlorine could help me . I’m kind of scared to do anything many more. Before all of this I was on a diet losing weight and do great. I was on the fat flush diet for a while but stopped that I started gaining when I was doing it.
    Thanks for your input

    • R.lively

      Chanca Piedra will help with liver and kidney ailments. It is called “the stone breaker”.
      .please read about it. It may help you clear it up.

  8. betti

    choline could help with your digestion of fats. I’m sure you could benefit from Liver Lovin Formula and Liver Care. They are both extremely helpful to detox and help your body rejuvinate your liver.

    It is tough to lose weight when you can’t process fat through your liver. This may be why you were not getting results on Fat Flush. The Fat Flush Kit does have liver detoxing herbs in the Weight Loss Formula which could also help you if you want to try it again.

  9. john gourley

    does choline increase the risk of prostate cancer?

    • Liz

      John, the research on this is mixed. Since there is some evidence that it can, you may wish to limit your intake of choline.

    • JonGrant

      Wouldn’t it be strange if the choline connection with cancer is true. You probably saw the same research I have where something like 1 or 2 eggs per week can increase metastatic forms of prostate cancer by 80%. This is less than the “adequate intake” as determined by our own health authorities. Yet other previous research has shown no such connection between choline and cancer (don’t ask me for the reference, I am just repeating something I’ve heard). My guess, and its just a guess, is that choline will eventually be exonerated. But what do I know, I’m just an ordinary shlub. What I do know is that for me, 500mg of choline L-bitatrate makes me feel very nice, and gives me energy for an entire day. I am rolling the dice I guess. Regards.

  10. Frank

    You said: “”Lecithin (derived from soybeans) is one of our only choline-based food sources, along with eggs.””

    Wrong! – Beef liver has the highest concentration of Choline of any foods…

  11. Doug

    One more source of choline is derived from sunflower lecithin which I have taken off and on for years because I read that it cleans your liver. About a year ago I recommend it to a friend when she said she had cirrhosis of the liver.. my jaw dropped when she texted me the other day that her #’s were more than cut in half. It totally restored her liver!!!

  12. Lori

    Hi Gwen,
    I had the good fortune of listening to you on Coast to Coast a few days ago where you mentioned that choline could help clear up a fatty liver which I have been said to have. I just recently got my blood work back and all my liver enzymes were elevated. ALK – 146, AST -40 and ALT -41. I am a non drinker of alcohol, female, and in my early 60’s. I am beginning to worry that this could turn into cirrhosis. You mentioned choline a few times. First you said to take 500 mg 3 times a day for 2 months, then you said to take it for 5 or 6 weeks. Question: There are different forms of choline on the market, CDP, Alpha GPC, bitartrate, etc. Which would be the best one for me to take and how often each day and for how long? If my liver tests improve after taking choline, would you suggest taking the choline again as a preventative measure in the future, or should I just lower the dose to 500mg and take one every day for life?

    • Team ALG

      David, any of the choline supplements will work to help flush the liver.

  13. David

    are the nootropic versions of choline equally as valuable for fat burning and liver flushing? Alpha GPC and CDP choline? I heard that regular choline is poorly absorbed. That’s why I’m wondering. Would these other versions of choline help flush the liver also, or just help the brain?

  14. Kelly

    Hi there! I just finished ALG’s book and getting started on the supplements. I’m wondering if there is a concern for too much choline if you’re taking the supplements and eating choline rich foods?

  15. Team ALG


    There’s not a problem taking the supplements recommended even when you eat choline rich foods.

  16. Roberta Barrett-Bettcher

    I had a gallbladder removal about 33 years ago and never knew of the liver bile & gallbladder connection until recently. Never had much of an issue once the gallbladder was removed, except for some weight gain. Now in my 50’s and consistently have constipation and my cholesterol has skyrocketed. Wondering how many milligrams would be good to take to help with these two issues. You mentioned taking the recommended dose of 250-1,000mg, but I’m wondering if because I do not have a gallbladder, that maybe I need to take a higher dose of the choline compared to someone who hasn’t had a gallbladder removed?



  1. 10 Supplements to Support Liver Health & Detox – – WholeFoods Magazine – healthyhealthier - […] Choline Clears the Fat Log Jam, Dr. Gittleman reports that just a few weeks on a choline-deficient diet has…

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