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Home :: Choline

Choline - Benefits, Deficiency Symptoms And Food Sources

Alternative names :: Bilineurine

What is Choline?

Choline is an essential nutrient that is widely distributed in foods, principally in the form of phosphatidylcholine but also as free choline. Choline is also known as 2-Hydroxy-N,N,N-trimethylethanaminum; (beta-hydroxyethyl) trimethylammonium and bilineurine. It is found in foods in the form of the phospholipid sphingomyelin. Choline is necessary for the structure and function of all cells and is crucial for sustaining life.

Choline is needed for the proper transmission of nerve impulses from the brain through the central nervous system, as well as for gallbladder regulation, liver function, and lecithin formation. It aids in hormone proction and minimizes excess fat in the liver because it aids fat and cholesterol metabolism. Without choline, brain function and memory are impaired.

Benefits of Choline

Choline is beneficial for disorders of the nervous system such as Parkinson's disease and tardive dyskinesia. Research in the last decade indicates that choline plays an important role in cardiovascular health, as well as in reproduction and fetal development. One study showed a need for choline for both prevention and treatment of arteriosclerosis and the metabolism of homocysteine.

Recommended Dosage of Choline

The minimum Recommended Dosage Allowance of Choline are :-

  • Male - 550 mg. per day.
  • Female - 425 mg. per day.

Special Intake of Choline

Should you consume alcohol, refined sugar or taking large amounts of nicotinic acid you might need extra choline.

Deficiency Symptoms of Choline

A deficiency may result in fatty buildup in the liver, as well as in cardiac symptoms, gastric ulcers, high blood pressure, an inability to digest fats and liver impairment, and stunted growth. A deficiency of choline does not happen easily but if it is deficient it may lead to liver disease, raised cholesterol levels as well as kidney problems.

Rich Food Sources of Choline

The following foods contain significant amounts of choline: egg yolks, lecithin (about 13 percent choline by weight), legumes, meat, milk, soybeans, and wholegrain cereals

Some more information on Choline

Choline, together with fat, inositol and essential unsaturated fatty acids make up lecithin, and needs a co-enzyme containing Vitamin B6, and magnesium to be produced. If lecithin is in short supply it may allow your blood cholesterol levels to become elevated.


Taking too much choline could result in your body smelling fishy, may cause nausea, depression, and could trigger existing epilepsy. Hypertension, sweating, salivation and diarrhea have also been reported.

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