Choline is a compound that was recently discovered in 1998. It is soluble in water and organic in nature. It is neither a mineral nor a vitamin; however, it has properties that are similar to the vitamin B complex.
Choline is an essential nutrient for our body as it performs several important functions, including helping the liver operate, promoting healthy brain development, aiding in smooth muscle movement, assisting our nervous system, and maintaining good metabolism. Though our liver can produce some amount of choline on its own, it is not sufficient to meet the demands of our body. Therefore, we need to consume choline through our diets as choline deficiency puts several essential body functions at risk.[r146]
Helps Maintain a Healthy Heart
Choline, along with folate, is ascertained to carry out a crucial function of converting the amino acid homocysteine to methionine. This conversion is important for a healthy heart as research indicates that high levels of homocysteine are significantly linked to risks of developing heart diseases and strokes.[r147]
Boosts Cognitive Functions
Choline consumption is beneficial for our brain in two major ways. First, choline is an essential requirement for the production of a neurotransmitter that controls our memory, mood, and intelligence. This neurotransmitter is known as acetylcholine.[r148] Its deficiency is found to be significantly related to impairment in cognitive abilities and loss of memory. Hence, choline aiding the production of acetylcholine is one of its top benefits for our body.
Secondly, consuming choline in our diets is good for optimal brain function as choline is involved in the critical function of synthesizing DNA.[r149] Scientific evidence iterates that cognitive functions are also significantly affected by the process of DNA synthesis – which is related to nutrition.
Choline along with other vitamins such as B6 and B12 helps boost our brain function.
In addition to the critical role of choline in healthy development and optimal functioning of our brain, it is also found to be effective in improving memory.[r150] A study testing beneficial impacts of choline on short and long term memory revealed that taking choline supplements every day helped improve both types of memory.[r151] The study included adults belonging to the age range of 50 to 80 who already had issues with memory.
Essential For Healthy Babies
Animal studies indicate the benefits of consuming choline by pregnant women. One large observational study comprising of about 1,210 expecting mothers found out that choline consumption during the second trimester lead to better visual memory in children at about seven years of age.[r152]
Daily Choline Intake
Healthy Foods High In Choline
- All food nutrient profiles are based on a weight of 100 grams.
- * RDI values are based on a diet of 2,000 calories a day (Female, Age 19-30).
- All foods are vegetarian.