Choline

What is choline?

The organic compound Choline is a water-soluble nutrient that’s usually interconnected with the complex B vitamins. It is naturally found in the lipids that make up cell membranes. Choline is a nutrient that is good for all ages. It helps to promote good health as well as the prevention of disease. The nutrient is vital to life because it assists in so many of life’s basic functions. Choline is useful in the body’s natural brain, nerve, and cell function as well as the liver’s metabolism because it helps to carry itself and other nutrients throughout the body.

What does choline do?

As stated earlier, and though Choline is and can be used for extreme cases of hepatitis, liver diseases like cirrhosis, as well as it is also used for memory loss, depression, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, Tourette’s disease, Huntington’s chorea, cerebellar ataxia, schizophrenia, and certain types of seizures. Participants in endurance sports like bike riding the Tour de France or cross-country running, even athletes in bodybuilding and extreme weight lifting Choline supplements to delay the onset of fatigue. When taken by pregnant women, Choline helps to prevent neural tube defects and it is also one of the many vitamins in infant formulas. Choline keeps your cell membranes in proper working order while allowing your nerves to communicate with your muscles. Choline proves to be one very vital nutrient to the body because it also reduces inflammation, prevents build-up in the blood, aids in the prevention of cancer, lowers bad cholesterol levels, and controls asthma.

Where can choline be found?

The best source of choline comes from foods rich in the vitamin itself. Fish, chicken and beef liver, nuts, peas, spinach, beans, eggs, and wheat germ, are all excellent sources of choline and one serving usually exceeds the recommended daily amount. Though not actually found in humans as an added supplement like that of foods, Choline can be made in the liver.

What happens when someone is deficient of choline?

When a person is deficient in the nutrient choline; sleeplessness like insomnia, fatigue, and muscle and nerve problems occur, including but not limited to, the buildup of fats in the blood, as well as the kidney’s inability to concentrate urine. No on the other hand, an overdose of a choline ingestion shows signs of nausea, sweating and increased body temperature, and appetite loss.

Helpful food sources, supplements and additional benefits of choline

The richest source of choline does not come from a food, but from an additive called lecithin. This additive made from soybeans, is used as an emulsifying agent because it helps keeps food components blended together. Food sources of choline include egg yolk, soybeans, peanuts, potatoes, butter, cauliflower, oats, lentils, flax seeds, and sesame seeds. Some associated benefits with this particular nutrient are a decrease in inflammation and swelling and help in the promotion of memory and brain development in unborn babies. Research also shows that women who consume large amounts of choline in dietary form reduce their risk of breast cancer. Other added benefits include but are not limited to its consumers realizing their focus levels have increased while some men believe it helps with penile erections.

RDI (Recommended Daily Intake)

Not established

AIs (Adequate Intakes)

Although  AIs have been set for choline, there is no certainty that a dietary supply of choline is needed at all stages of the life cycle.

If you suffer from trimethylaminuria, renal disease, liver disease, depression or Parkinson’s disease, you might be at risk of adverse effects with choline intakes.

Infants
0-6 months
7-12 months
Milligram per Day
125
150
Children
1-3 years
4-8 years

200
250
Males
9-13 years
14-18 years
19-30 years
31-50 years
50-70 years
> 70 years

375
550
550
550
550
550
Females
9-13 years
14-18 years
19-30 years
31-50 years
50-70 years
> 70 years

375
400
425
425
425
425
Pregnancy
< 19 years
19-30 years
31-50 years

450
450
450
Lactation
< 19 years
19-30 years
31-50 years

550
550
550

Source: USDA Dietary Reference Intakes