Choline is an organic compound and also a recently discovered nutrient. Neither is choline a vitamin nor a mineral. It is related to the B Vitamins. Although scientists have not verified it yet it is still required in the body.
Choline Food Sources
The main food sources are eggs. This is because eggs contain lecithin which is a composition of choline. Other food sources include liver, muscle meats, fish, nuts, beans, peas, spinach, wheat germ, and eggs. Additionally, the liver can manufacture choline inside the body.
Choline Daily Intakes
An average diet supplies 200-600 mg of choline daily. Adequate Intake (AI), as established by the Food and Nutrition Board of the National Institute of Medicine, for adults is 550 mg per day for men and breastfeeding women; women, 425 mg per day; pregnant women, 450 mg per day.
Daily Upper Intake Levels (UL, the highest level of intake that is not likely to cause harm) for choline is 1 gram daily for children 1-8 years, 2 grams for children 9-13 years, 3 grams for children 14-18 years, and 3.5 grams for adults over 18 years of age.
Choline Health Benefits
Fat Transport and Metabolism
It is an essential requirement for fat transport from the liver to other body parts. Choline makes the substance responsible for transporting bile fats to the other parts of the body.
The fats distributed from the liver are required to develop the cell structure. Thus, fats are used to develop the structural integrity of a human cell.
Choline develops some structures known as cell messengers. The compounds provide communication between different cells according to instructions given by the body. Thus, improving the functioning of the body.
Together with B vitamins like B12 and folate, choline is a requirement for the synthesis of DNA. They work hand in hand to help in a process required for DNA synthesis.
Choline is a basic requirement for the transfer of acetylcholine. On the other hand, acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter. Thus it facilitates good functioning of the nervous system. Additionally, acetylcholine is responsible for muscle movement and regulating the heartbeat.
It is a bodybuilding food mainly used by athletes before racing. Also, athletes use it for delaying fatigue dring sports.
Sometimes, choline is administered as an injection. This is done for people affected with liver disease. The diseases include chronic hepatitis and cirrhosis.
Pregnant and Lactating women
According to various studies, expectant women require choline to develop the infant’s neural tube and cell structure development. Also, it is a requirement for the amniotic fluid. The percentage composition of choline present in the amniotic fluid is high than in the maternal body.
For an infant, choline is administered as a supplement to enhance cell growth and nervous system development.
Choline Side Effects
More likely choline is safe when taken orally than in supplements. For adults, excessive oral intake of the compound is likely to cause some side effects. The side effects include:
- fishy body odor
- gastrointestinal distress
Also, some studies have written that excessive choline intake will result to increase in the risk of cancer of the colon and the rectum. However, more research is needed to validate the point.
In children, oral intake is the safest way to use choline. High doses are probably unsafe for children. This is due to the chances of having increased side effects.
For expectant and lactating women, it is still not validated about high choline dosages. However, it is advisable to keep the recommended doses.
Choline and Diseases
The compound is a prevention and cure substance to many diseases. One of the diseases cured by chlorine is liver diseases. Additionally, choline is required as a precursor to trimethylamine. Lack of choline will lead to the fishy body odor or trimethylaminuria.
Apart from this, Choline might be effective on:
- Memory loss,
- Alzheimer’s disease,
- Huntington’s chorea,
- Tourette’s disease,
- Cerebellar ataxia- a brain disorder
- Schizophrenia- certain types of seizures, and a mental condition.
Although it is not common in most of the countries, some people are affected. For example, people who require large amounts of methyl may be affected. This is because choline is a chemical composition for methyl. Also, people suffering from Fatty Liver Disease(FLD) are at risk of suffering from the disease. Fats that should be transported by Cholin accumulate in the liver.
Signs and Symptoms of Choline Deficiency
- low energy levels of fatigue
- memory loss
- cognitive decline
- learning disabilities
- muscle aches
- nerve damage and
- mood changes or disorders
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