Characteristics of choline:Choline is considered a member of vitamin B. Choline comes from the degradation of phosphatidylcholine, which is a component of lecithin.
Choline is necessary:
- To form cellular membranes.
- For the metabolism of lipids, it prevents that these are deposited in the liver and favors its transport and penetration in the cells.
- For the formation of the acetylcholine, the main neurotransmitter of the brain, which importance is radical in the transmission of the nervous impulses; that is the reason why it has a capital importance in the operation of the brain and the transmission of the nervous impulses to muscles, including the heart.
- For the elimination, along with other components of vitamin B, of homocysteine, an amino acid responsible for the accumulation of cholesterol in the arteries.
- For the good development of the fetus
Problems caused by the lack of choline
A deficiency of this vitamin is found mainly in the form of:
- Problems in the liver. The lack of this vitamin can originate hepatic upheavals that normally indicate in hepatic insufficiency or greasy liver.
- Mental Problems: Choline is responsible for the formation of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. Acetylcholine is necessary for the good operation of the nervous impulses in the brain. Without choline mismatches in the brain may occur, manifested as inappropriate behavior, emotional problems and lack of memory.
Where can it be found?
Animal sources of choline: The main source of this vitamin are eggs. Another important source of animal are general visceral or red meat. All animal foods have this vitamin in more or less proportion.
Plant sources of choline: The primary source is the soybean. Other plant sources are cabbage, chickpeas, lentils, cauliflower, rice, lettuce, peanuts and grape juice.
Choline supplements: Besides food, you can get this vitamin through supplements in the form of capsules or tablets. There are supplements that are sold as a choline or in the purest form of phosphatidylcholine (PC-55) containing a 15% choline. Also available in the form of grains of soya lecithin providing 15 to 20% phosphatidylcholine. Once ingested phosphatidylcholine from lecithin becomes choline.
Medicinal properties of choline:
Normally a varied diet is sufficient to meet the daily demands of this vitamin. There are however some situations where it may be necessary to increase the daily dose. Supplements of this vitamin may be interesting in the following cases:
- Gallstones: It has been shown that low levels of phosphatidylcholine can cause gallstones because the body needs to lecithin or phosphatidylcholine to metabolize fats. Taking supplements of lecithin or choline may help prevent gallstones. (A couple of tablespoons of lecithin a day) (1500 mg of choline or phosphatidylcholine split into 3 doses per day)
- It helps to improve liver health: The use of lecithin or choline is very interesting for the prevention or treatment of many diseases of the liver. These components, being able to metabolize fats, prevents these are deposited in the liver. Thereby prevent the onset of fatty liver disease.
At the same time, transporting lipids from the liver cells and promote their penetration into them. All of this metabolic process drags a high amount of toxins which is a liver cleanse. We have seen that lecithin or choline helps the liver to be warned against a number of diseases such as cirrhosis, liver cancer or liver degradation caused by toxins. (A couple of teaspoons of lecithin per day) (1500 mg of choline or phosphatidylcholine split into 3 doses per day)
- It helps to prevent Alzheimer's: Choline could be useful in preventing the development of Alzheimer's although no definitive evidence on this issue.
Choline daily needs: There is no ADR for lecithin or choline although some researchers believe that this should be between 550 mg per day for men and 425 women. A varied diet provides the necessary amount of this vitamin. Higher doses are needed only for some of the therapeutic uses mentioned above.
Toxicity of choline: In very high doses (10 gr. per day or more) can cause digestive and intestinal problems with the appearance of diarrhea or vomiting. These doses produce body odor like fish and can also trigger cardiac arrhythmias.
Vitamins of group B
More information about vitamins in the listing above.