Small amounts are made by the liver, though it's important to obtain most of the needed choline through the diet. While not classified as either a vitamin or mineral, choline is often grouped within vitamin B complex.
Choline is essential for various bodily functions, including the following:
- Creating fatty tissue that supports cell structure and membranes1
- Producing compounds that serve as messengers between cells
- Metabolizing and transporting fat and cholesterol out of the liver2
- Helping with DNA synthesis
- Producing acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that's required for optimal memory, muscle movement and regular heartbeat
Benefits of Choline
There are plenty of health benefits of including choline in the diet.
May improve cognitive performance and function. Choline helps to produce acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that plays a key role in memory, mood, and intelligence3.
May help with fetal brain development. Some animal studies4 have suggested that choline taken during pregnancy may help with fetal brain development. More specifically, choline taken during the second trimester of pregnancy may be associated with better visual memory in children as they grow.
May play a role in mental health. Some studies5 suggest that choline may help with the treatment of certain mental health disorders, including anxiety.
Improves heart health. Studies6 have shown that a higher intake of choline is linked to a lower risk of heart disease because of its role in reducing levels of the amino acid homocysteine, which has been associated with an increased risk of heart disease and stroke.
Speeds up reaction time. There is evidence7 to suggest that choline can help improve and maintain reaction time to stimuli.
Can help reduce fatty liver. One of the biggest benefits of adequate levels of choline is its ability to help minimize fatty tissue around the liver8. A fatty liver is associated with liver damage, and by reducing the amount of fat around the liver, this vital organ can avoid harm and function optimally.
May reduce inflammation. An adequate level of choline in the body may be linked to a reduction in inflammation markers, including TNF, CRP, and interleukin-69.
Choline is instrumental in the process of methylation, which aids in detoxification of the body, including excess estrogen. Choline serves as a good methylator of excess estrogen in the body and thereby helps to minimize the potential issues that may come with too much of the hormone. High levels of estrogen can cause certain health issues, including weight gain, menstrual problems, bloating, difficulty sleeping and mood changes in women. In men, a high level of estrogen may cause enlarged breasts, erectile dysfunction and infertility.
As such, eliminating excess estrogen in the body is important, and choline can help aid the process of methylation to remove unnecessary levels.
How to Use Choline
Choline can be obtained from a number of food sources. It may also be sourced from supplements if not enough is consumed from foods.
Choline Recommended Daily Dosage
Different people will require different amounts of choline for optimal health10:
- Infants/babies: 125–150 mg
- Children between 1 to 8 years: 150–250 mg
- Teenagers between 8 to 13 years: 250–375 mg
- Adult women: 425–550 mg
- Adult men: 550 mg
- Pregnant women: 450–550 mg
- Nursing women: 550 mg
Supplementing With Choline
Consuming choline in very high levels may cause side effects11, including the following:
- Low blood pressure
- Excess perspiration
- Body odor
Symptoms of Choline Deficiency
Being deficient in choline can be dangerous for the liver. As such, it's important to get enough choline from dietary or supplemental forms in order to avoid deficiency.
Signs and symptoms of choline deficiency include:
- Fatty liver
- Muscle damage
- Kidney damage
Who Is at Risk of Choline Deficiency?
Choline deficiency is not very common, but certain people are at a higher risk of deficiency than others, including the following;
- Endurance athletes
- Pregnant women
- Postmenopausal women
- People who consume alcohol in large quantities
Food Sources of Choline
As already mentioned, choline can be obtained from a number of different foods sources, including the following:
- Liver (beef or chicken)
Is Choline Healthy?
Choline is an important nutrient that is necessary not only for optimal health, but for basic bodily functions. A deficiency in choline can cause a number of negative health consequences, while optimal levels can come with a slew of health benefits. Although the body creates some choline, most of it must be obtained from food sources or supplements.
Choline Supplementation With Choline: Nervous System Health
There are always certain instances where diet is not going to give you everything you need. There's no need to worry if your diet does not provide the necessary amount of choline. Oral supplements are available for those who want to make sure they are consuming enough in their daily diet.
UMZU Choline is a powerful, all-natural supplement that contains clinically-proven dosages of choline. Learn more about Choline: Nervous System Health and UMZU's line of natural supplements by visiting our online showroom.
With crazy, busy schedules it is easy to be tempted by fast food, processed food, and an abundance of poor eating choices. With obesity and bad eating habits on the rise, it's more important now than ever to pay attention to what you put in your body. Your health is one of the most important investments you can make. After all, you will need it for years to come! Take care to make sure you are receiving adequate amounts of both macronutrients and micronutrients, as well as engaging in healthy exercise. Begin your journey to a healthier you today!