Choline is generally included amongst the B complex vitamins but is not technically classified as a vitamin. It is used by the body to help break down fats in the diet, and also helps form substances vital for transmission of nerve impulses and creation of healthy nervous tissue.
Choline is a water-soluble nutrient that is mostly consumed in the diet as a nutrient called lecithin. Choline helps the body to use dietary fats. Choline deficiency causes fats to build up in the liver and can actually promote liver cancer. Choline is also important for the formation of certain chemicals that enable nerve cells and muscle cells to communicate. Choline is also extremely important for the formation of cell membranes, which are specialised layers of fats and protein that surround all cells in the body. The cell membranes that surround the nerves in the body are extremely important for conducting electrical activity that is generated by the nerves. Choline helps to form these specialised nerve-cell membranes and Choline deficiency can cause problems in nerve conduction. Choline is also a very important chemical for the proper functioning of the brain and is essential for memory. Choline is an important dietary nutrient for pregnant women as Choline deficiency may cause abnormalities in the brain of the developing foetus.
Always consult your Health Professional to advise you on dosages and any possible medical interactions. Choline supplements should be used with caution by patients who suffer epilepsy and seizures because it may cause the formation of transmitter chemicals that could trigger fits. Choline supplements have been used to manage movement disorders such as tardive dyskinesia. Choline is contained in many dietary health supplements that are used to promote healthy liver function.
Symptoms of Choline deficiency include a fatty liver, cirrhosis, liver cancer, memory impairment, kidney disease and problems with motor coordination.
Choline is found in soybeans, egg yolk, brewer's yeast, wheat germ, fish, peanuts, some leafy, green vegetables, liver and organ meats.
DOSAGECholine is readily available in the diet and usually will only need to be supplemented in specific disease states. The recommended daily allowance (RDA) for Choline is 500 mg for men and 425 mg for women. Excessive amounts of Choline (doses of 10 g or more) may cause diarrhoea, nausea, dizziness, sweating, salivation, depression and changes in heart rhythm. See your health care professional for advice about the correct dosage for you.