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Choline for Anxiety, Racing Thoughts and Mental Health

Updated on July 29, 2013

What is Choline?

Although often considered part of the B-vitamin family, choline is not officially included as a vitamin. It seems to work in concert with folate and the amino acid methionine. Our bodies make choline, but additional choline is necessary and usually can be found in our diets. However, a growing number of people are discovering the benefits of additional choline in their diets for a variety of reasons.

General Benefits of Choline

It works with inositol to emulsify fats, meaning that it keeps fats in liquid form making them less likely to be deposited along artery walls or in the gall bladder. It helps our livers from accumulating too much fat, and can help prevent and even reverse certain types of damage to the liver. It helps transport fats to be used by the body, or excreted. It can help lower cholesterol and homocysteine levels, aiding in the prevention of heart disease. Sufficient levels of choline help prevent against certain types of cancer. It can be a help to those suffering from asthma, in part due to It's anti-inflammatory properties. Choline also helps mucous membranes stay moist in menopausal women.

Benefits to the Brain

Choline has been shown to aid in fetal brain development, and may help prevent memory loss in the aged, but does not seem to reverse cognitive decline. It is important in cell structure and is a precursor for healthy neurotransmitter function, specifically the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. It can help in reducing sleep problems, and helps to calm racing thoughts and the over-active mind. It helps the brain filter out noises that an overactive brain would find annoying and over stimulating. Additionally, choline is a powerful aid in helping to reduce 1anxiety and panic attacks. Further, it can help lessen the extreme side effects of 2protracted withdrawal from many prescription medications.

Choline is a key to calming hyperactivity, ADD, and ADHD, although it is not a complete solution by itself. Additionally, it is found to be highly beneficial for most mental illnesses and nuerological disorders including Huntington's disease, Tourette's syndrome, Friedreich's ataxia, dementia, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, long-term depression (unipolar depression) and some cases of Alzheimer's disease. Additionally, it can lessen the symptoms of tardive dyskinesia (side effects from long-term or high-dose prescription antipsychotic use.)

Foods Rich in Choline

Eggs, almonds, peanuts (peanut butter), beef, cauliflower, beans and fish are all rich in choline. Some individuals could benefit from adding a choline supplement to their diet. If you decide adding a choline supplement is right for you, be aware that it is best metabolized with food intake, along with folic acid.

Who Is LIkely to Benefit from Choline Supplementation?

It is very beneficial to those who suffer from mental disorders, as listed above, or experience racing thoughts, hyperactive brain, memory and cognitive problems. Those who experience constant sleep problems may benefit from it. Those who exercise strenuously on a frequent basis drastically reduce their choline levels. If this is you, you may need to supplement with choline in order to metabolize fat during and after workouts.

Supplementation Guide

Recommended Dose

In short, adult men can take 550 mg of choline daily, and adult women can take 425 mg daily, as a healthy routine. Note in the chart above that there are recommendations for infants, children and adolescents.

Higher intakes are possible, without adverse effects, but it is dependent entirely on conditions in the body such as deficiencies. The safest way to see if you will react adversely to choline is to start at the recommended dose and adjust up or down based on any symptoms you may have.

Choline Can Be Part of the Solution, But Not the Silver Bullet

Note that many individuals could likely have different results from supplementing with choline, depending on the condition of their body. Everyone's metabolism is not the same, nor is everyone's ability to assimilate nutrients the same. Additionally, in cases where brain damage has occurred, the body's ability to assimilate nutrients is likely compromised. There can also be other problems in the digestive tract which can inhibit assimilation. Additionally, there are different types of choline. For example, some individuals with mental disorders may find a certain type of choline activating, causing irritability instead of calm. However, changing to another form of choline may correct the problem.

Forms of Choline

3Phosphatidyl Choline

4Choline Bitartrate

5Citicholine

These forms are readily available through retail and online health food stores. Of note, choline is most often in a lecithin base, a component of choline.

Side Effects of Too Much Choline

Intake levels beyond 3.5 grams (3500 mg) show adverse effects. Symptoms include sweating, increased body temperature, upset stomach, low blood pressure, diarrhea, fishy body odor, and excessive irritability.

Summary

Many people receive enough choline in their daily diets to maintain the health they need, but factors such as stressors, frequent strenuous exercise, and brain dysfunction could make one a candidate for choline supplementation. When choosing a new supplement for your body, follow recommended dosages and adjust according to your observations. If something needs to be adjusted, adjust only one thing at a time, so you can better monitor its effect. For example if, you have any adverse side effects as listed above, adjust your dosage down by one capsule per dose, and let a few days pass before making additional changes in order to monitor the difference accurately.

By following basic recommendations and adjusting a little here and there, you will avoid a great deal of frustration and setbacks.

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    • MyFunHealthyLife profile imageAUTHOR

      Daniel Carter 

      4 years ago from Western United States

      Thank you, Alise-Evon for stopping by.

    • profile image

      Alise- Evon 

      4 years ago

      That was interesting and useful. Thanks for the helpful information.

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