What is Choline?
Choline is an essential nutrient for brain health, intelligence and synaptic plasticity. It is used in your brain both as a precursor to acetylcholine – a neurotransmitter chiefly important for memory – and as a component in the maintenance of healthy cell membranes.
What Does Choline Do in Your Body?
Helps to produce fat that provides structure to your cells
Is a part of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter needed for the health of your nervous system
Helps to transport fat and cholesterol to your cells thereby preventing the accumulation of fat and cholesterol in your liver
Converts to trimethylglycine, which helps to reduce your homocysteine level, lowering your risk of stroke, heart disease, cancer, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s disease, and many degenerative diseases.
Foods Rich in Choline
Meat and Seafood- Meat and seafood are rich in choline, as noted by the LPI. Three ounces of beef liver, for instance, contains about 350 milligrams of choline. A similar amount of chicken or turkey liver contains between 220 to 320 milligrams of choline.
Eggs, Milk and Chocolate- One large egg contains about 120 milligrams of choline, while 1 cup of skim milk contains 38 milligrams. Dried egg yolk is particularly high in choline, with nearly 1,400 milligrams in a 100-gram serving. Chocolate provides a sweet way to meet your choline intake requirements.
Soy, Seeds and Nuts- People wanting to eat more foods with choline might add soy, flax seed and nuts to their diets. Three ounces of tofu contains about 100 milligrams of choline, and the same amount of low-fat soy flour about 190. Meat substitutes containing soy are a good source of choline, as noted by the Linus Pauling Institute.
Vegetables, Herbs and Spices- vegetables, herbs and spices are good sources of choline. One cup of cooked Brussels sprouts or broccoli both contain about 60 milligrams of choline. Dried celery flakes, sun-dried tomatoes, mustard seed, coriander leaf, dried parsley, dried coriander leaf, garlic or chili powder add choline to dishes along with flavor.
Choline Deficiency Symptoms and Causes
1. impaired fat metabolism and transport, which hinders fat from being an energy source, and is symptomized by decrease in blood levels of VLDL (Very Low Density Lipoprotein) which the liver uses to transport fats
2. fatty build-up in the liver, which may lead to fatty degeneration of the liver, cirrhosis, and liver damage
3. raised levels of cholesterol or triglyceride (a type of fats)
4. high blood pressure (hypertension)
5. high levels of homocysteine in blood, leading to risk of heart disease and other cardiovascular and circulatory problems
6. respiratory distress in newborns or nerve degeneration or nerve-muscle imbalances due to insufficient acetylcholine, the neurotransmitter that cannot be made without choline
7. anemia arising from lack of red blood cell formation, as a cell membrane component, phosphatidylcholine, needs choline for its production
8. kidney hemorrhage or kidneys unable to concentrate urine, due to insufficient phosphatidylcholine
9. abnormal bone formation
10. impaired growth in newborns
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