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A Brief Overview of Choline

Updated on May 7, 2017

What Is Choline?

Choline is a water-soluble macronutrient, a -complex vitamin that is produced in the liver. It is found in the lecithin of plants and animals. Choline was first isolated in 1862 by Adolph Strecker, and was first chemically synthesized in 1865 by Oscar Liebreich.

Do you take choline supplements?

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Choline Is Naturally Synthesized in Small Amounts Within the Liver

Source

Functions of Choline

Choline performs various biological functions. It regulates cell volume and protects cell integrity. It is used in the synthesis of some phospholipids that are essential structural components of cell membranes. Phosphatidylcholine is necessary for lipid transport and metabolism.

This macronutrient is a precursor to acetylcholine, an organic chemical that functions as a neurotransmitter. Acetylcholine is vital to nerve function and the direct signalling of muscular contractions.

Choline reduces homocysteine levels in the body indirectly. High levels of homocysteine is a condition that is linked to cardiovascular disease, stroke, dementia and migraines. Choline prevents many chronic diseases.

Phosphatidylcholine and sphingomyelin are choline-containing phospholipids. They are precursors for diacylglycerol and ceramide, which are intracellular messenger molecules. Choline is essential for the healthy functioning of the nervous system.

Human Cell Inspected Through a Fluorescence Microscope

Source

Symptoms of Choline Deficiency

Hemorrhagic kidney necrosis and fatty liver are common symptoms of choline deficiency. Memory loss, tiredness, learning disabilities, cognitive decline and mood swings are other known symptoms.

Fatigue Is a Symptom of Choline Deficiency

Source

5 Natural Sources of Choline

Food
Serving
Quantity (mg)
Toasted wheat germ
1 cup
202
Boiled Brussel sprouts
1 cup
63
Cooked chopped broccoli
1 cup
63
Smooth peanut butter
2 tablespoons
20
Peanuts
1 ounce
15
Source: http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/other-nutrients/choline#function

Uses of Choline

Citicoline is used in treatment of cerebrovascular diseases and traumatic brain injury. Choline is used to treat neurodegenerative diseases like glaucoma and dementia.

Adequate Intake

Stage
Age
Male (mg per day)
Infants
0-6 months
125
Infants
7-12 months
150
Children
1-3 years
200
Children
4-8 years
250
Children
9-13 years
375
Adolescents
14-18 years
550
Adults
Above 18 years
550
Pregnancy
All ages
NA
Breastfeeding mothers
All ages
NA
Source: http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/other-nutrients/choline

There is an immediate need to increase awareness among health professionals and consumers of choline as an essential, but currently suboptimal, nutrient, and …that for the majority of the population choline consumption is far below current dietary recommendations. Increasing awareness of the pervasiveness of suboptimal choline intakes must become the focus of public health efforts in order to promote optimal health.

— Institute of Medicine

Side Effects

Choline is safe when dosage is followed. Overdose can cause side effects like fishy body odor, perspiration, gastrointestinal problems, vomiting and diarrhea. Some experts are of the opinion that increased dietary choline intake may increase the risk of colon cancer and rectum cancer. It is clot enhancing.

Summary

  • Choline is a water-soluble macronutrient.
  • Choline is produced in small quantities in the liver.
  • Choline performs many biological functions.
  • Choline is necessary for the healthy functioning of the nervous system.
  • Fatty liver is a symptom of choline deficiency.

If you have a PEMT genetic polymorphism and you are not supporting your diet with appropriate fatty acids or you’re eating fast foods and you’re destroying your cell membranes for various reasons, then that’s a problem. So supplementing with phosphatidylcholine, eating eggs, eating more healthfully, balancing your fatty acids, looking at red blood cell fatty acids, working with a good doc, and so on is really important.

— Dr. Ben Lynch

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    • simplehappylife profile image

      SA Williams 4 weeks ago from Earth

      Very Interesting! I've never heard of Choline. I appreciate that you included the symptoms of a Choline deficiency.

      Great Article!

    • srirad0675 profile image
      Author

      Srikanth R 4 weeks ago

      Thank you.

    • srirad0675 profile image
      Author

      Srikanth R 4 weeks ago

      Thanks to Google Trends. :-)

    • srirad0675 profile image
      Author

      Srikanth R 4 weeks ago

      Thank you.

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