Choline

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Choline is a nutrient that is found in many foods and is necessary for our brains and nervous systems to regulate memory, mood, muscle control, and other functions. We also need choline to form the membranes that surround our body’s cells. We make a small amount of choline in our livers, but most of the choline in our bodies comes from the food we eat. Nevertheless, the diets of most people in the United States provide less than the recommended amounts of choline. Egg yolk is the largest dietary source of choline.

Choline is used orally for the following conditions:

  • Liver disease including chronic hepatitis and cirrhosis
  • Hypercholesterolemia
  • Depression
  • Memory loss
  • Alzheimer's disease and dementia
  • Schizophrenia

It is also used for the following:

  • Body building
  • Delaying fatigue in endurance sports
  • Preventing neural tube defects
  • Preventing cancer
  • Huntington's chorea
  • Tourette's disease
  • Cerebellar ataxia
  • Complex partial seizures
  • Asthma
  • As a supplement in infant formulas

Choline, when used intraveneously, has orphan drug status for TPN-associated hepatic steatosis.

Also known as:  Bitartre de Choline, Chlorure de Choline, Choline Bitartrate, Choline Chloride, Choline Citrate, Citrate de Choline, Colina, Facteur Lipotropique, Hydroxyde de Triméthylammonium (bêta-hydroxyéthyl), Intrachol, L-Choline, Lipotropic Factor, Methylated Phosphatidylethanolamine, Triméthyléthanolamine

Diseases and Conditions

Choline is likely effective in treating hepatic steatosis; choline is effective when administered intraveneoulsy for treating total parenteral nutrition-associated hepatic steatosis in patients with choline deficiency.

Choline is possibly effective in treating asthma; choline, when taken orally, seems to decrease the severity of symptoms, the number of symptomatic days, and the need to use bronchodilators in patients with asthma. There is evidence that higher doses of three grams daily might be more effective than lower doses of one and one-half grams daily.

Choline is also possibly effective for neural tube birth defects; epidemiological evidence suggests that when women have a high dietary choline intake around the time of conception, they will have a lower risk of having offspring with a neural tube defect compared to women with a lower intake.

Choline is possibly ineffective in treating Alzheimer's disease; using choline orally, alone or in combination with lecithin, does not seem to reduce symptoms of Alzheimer's disease.

Choline is also possibly ineffective for improving ahletic performance and for treating cerebellar ataxia. Choline is likely ineffective for age-related memory impairment and for schizophrenia.

Safety

Choline is likely safe when used orally and intravenously in the right doses.

It is unsafe for adults over 18 to consume more than 3.5g per day of choline.

It is likely safe for children, pregnant, and breastfeeding women to take choline orally, in the right doses, and under the supervision of a physician.

Choline is generally well-tolerated although high doses may lead to the following effects:

  • Low blood pressure
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Steatorrhea
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Salivation
  • Dizziness
  • Anorexia
  • Headaches
  • Insomnia
  • Sweating

It may also trigger epilepsy; choline is not suitable for patients with kidney and liver disease, seizures, and Parkinson’s Disease. Other possible side effects include incontinence, rashes, paranoia, agitation, stunted growth, fishy odor, and severe depression.

Medication Interactions

Choline has a minor interaction with atropine. Some evidence from animal research shows that administering choline one hour prior to administering atropine can reduce atropine-induced decreases in concentrations of acetylcholine in the brain. In theory, concomitant use of choline and atropine may decrease the effects and side effects of atropine.

Supplement and Food Interactions

There are no known supplement, herb, or food interactions for choline.

Dosage

The correct dosage of any supplement requires a comprehensive analysis of many factors including your age, sex, health conditions, DNA, andlifestyle. 

The recommended dosage of choline depends on the age and sex of who is taking it.

  • For babies aged zero to six months, the recommended dosage is one hundred twenty-five milligrams.
  • For infants aged seven to twelve months, the recommended dosage is one hundred fifty milligrams.
  • For children aged one to three years, the recommended dosage is two hundred milligrams.
  • For children aged four to eight years, the recommended dosage is two hundred fifty milligrams.
  • For children aged nine to thirteen years, the recommended dosage is three hundred seventy-five milligrams.
  • For teen boys aged fourteen to eighteen years, the recommended dosage is five hundred fifty milligrams.
  • For teen girls aged fourteen to eighteen years, the recommended dosage is four hundred milligrams.
  • For men aged nineteen years and older, the recommended dosage is five hundred fifty millgrams.
  • For women aged nineteen years and older, the recommended dosage is four hundred twenty-five millgrams.
  • For pregnant teens and women, the recommended dosage is four hundred fifty milligrams.
  • For breastfeeding teens and women, the recommended dosage is five hundred fifty milligrams.

Foods

Many foods contain choline, including the following:

  • Meat
  • Eggs
  • Poultry
  • Fish
  • Dairy products
  • Potatoes
  • Cruciferous vegetables (such as brussels sprouts, broccoli, and cauliflower)
  • Some types of beans
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Whole grains

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References

  1. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Choline-Consumer/
  2. https://naturalmedicines.therapeuticresearch.com/references.aspx?productid=436

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