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Choline: What is it and Why do we Need it?

Why Choline

Americans do not get enough of Choline in their diets. Only 10% of the people are getting the amount recommended daily. It is an essential nutrient required for cell functioning that translates into growth and development. The Framingham study involved a food survey and memory tests among other things for 1400 adults – ages 36-83. High choline intake helped subjects perform better on the memory tasks and were also showing less areas of white matter hyperintensity. This is a measure of brain blood vessel disease. Therefore, it was concluded that higher concurrent choline intake meant better cognitive performance.

What is Choline

A water-soluble nutrient grouped with the rest of the B-Vitamin complex. It may not be a vitamin itself, but it is required for important processes, such as maintenance of cell structure, metabolism, and nutrient transport. Choline is synthesized within the liver but not in sufficient amounts.

Choline Requirements

Liver function and metabolism are both regulated by choline.Its deficiency can grow into a disease that is called Metabolic Syndrome. In this disease, an individual develops insulin resistance and due to the increased amount of serum triglycerides and cholesterol, leading to obesity. If the problem of choline deficiency is compounded by a diet low in protein, then the result is fatty liver disease.

Proper functioning of the nervous system, as well as development also requires choline.This is because cholinergic neurons form parts of the brain, para-, and sympathetic nervous systems. For the formation of these neurons, choline is required. Besides that, choline is also a precursor of acetylcholine. Acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter involved in many processes, including memory, muscle function, and learning. Cholinergic neurons are also associated with conditions of impaired cognition, such as Alzheimer’s and memory loss.

Choline is also a part of the phospholipids, sphingomyelin, and phosphatidylcholine that form cell membranes. The integrity of a cell’s structure is kept in check by the cell membrane. Choline deficiency will lead to compromised cell membrane.

There have also been reports of choline rich diets, leading to inflammatory markers such as TNF-alpha, IL-6, and C-reactive protein. Moreover, choline-deficient diet consumption for even a month showed increased cancer risk and DNA damage in people.

Natural Choline Sources

Traditionally, pregnant women consumed 5-7 egg yolks. There is a reason behind their seemingly excessive behavior i.e. 115 mg of choline/egg yolk! Pastured eggs have even superior profiles when it comes to this nutrient, therefore they should be preferred to other types. In order to include more egg yolks, you can add extra yolks when making scrambled eggs. You can also drop in one or two when making homemade ice cream or have it raw by including in smoothies.

The liver is another rich source of choline since there is more than 400 mg of it in just 5oz of raw liver.It is preferable to pick a reliable, grass-fed source for the liver. To makethe liver a part of your life, you can always make it into a paste and smear it on toast. It also tastes delicious if sautéed with onions in butter. If organ meats are not your style, then try desiccated liver. It is available in two forms, powder,and capsule.

You can also obtain choline from grass-fed milk or other dairy sources. Whether in the form of yogurt or milk, yogurt, you can get about 40 mg of choline from 8 oz. of this source. Pasteurization can often affect the stability of nutrients that is why for intactnutrients; opt for raw milk and products made from it.

For a healthy dose of 70 mg choline, you could also dig in a cup of your favorite beans. Whether they are lima beans or garbanzo beansand even lentils that you prefer, they all provide you with the same quantity. Seeds are also a good choline source. For 60mg/cup, indulge in pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, or almonds. A word of caution, since nuts and legumes are also fatty, they should be consumed in moderation. You will find that the richest choline sources tend to be animal foods. However, you can also use plant-based foods as your secondary choline sources.

Cruciferous vegetables,cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli,and bok choy will reward you with 65 mg of choline/cup in their cooked state. Instead of slathering them in oil, enjoy these vegetables by lightly steaming them and then add plenty of butter for your taste buds, as well as, better nutrient assimilation.

Choline Supplements

Choline supplements that are good sources include Centrophenoxine. When Centrophenoxine is used with Nootropics, such as Oxiracetam, Aniracetam, and Piracetam, it enhances their effects. This is because these supplements increase the demand for acetylcholine at the brain receptors.  Smart supplements, like the ones from the racetam family, result in increased memory, learning, focus, reasoning, and brain energy.

Have something to share with us about choline? Chime in using our comments section below!  Let us know if you’ve been supplementing with Centrophenoxine, what have you noticed?

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