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Choline is a vitamin-like nutrient that is considered essential in the diet despite the fact that humans can synthesize small amounts. Choline and its metabolites have a number of vital biological functions including the synthesis of phospholipids and other structural components of cell membranes.
Choline is also the key precursor of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which is important for a healthy heart rhythm, mental health, memory and many other functions.
Choline is a vitamin-like nutrient that is considered essential in the diet despite the fact that humans can synthesize small amounts. Choline and its metabolites have a number of vital biological functions including the synthesis of phospholipids and other structural components of cell membranes. Cell signaling molecules are also derived from choline metabolites and cell membrane integrity is critical for optimal cellular “communication.” In the kidney, the choline metabolite betaine plays an important role in maintaining osmotic balance. Choline is also the key precursor of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which is important for heart rhythm control, mental health, memory and many other functions.
Previous research has shown that healthy individuals with normal folate and vitamin B12 status who were fed a choline-deficient diet developed fatty liver, elevated transaminases or muscle damage that resolved when choline was restored to the diet. It has also been shown that genetic variability affecting methylation pathways important to liver detoxification dramatically alter dietary choline requirements. Specifically, poor folate metabolism results in increased utilization of choline as a methyl donor resulting in a choline deficiency even with adequate intake, as one example. A recent study from the University of North Carolina confirms that genetic polymorphisms affect choline requirements greatly, with wide ranges of variability among race and gender. Researchers gave men and women a 10 day diet of adequate choline intake (550mg daily) followed by inadequate intake (50mg daily) for up to six weeks while changes associated with development of liver or muscle dysfunction were monitored. The results documented several single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPS) which are associated with choline deficiency related organ dysfunction in women when they consume a diet low in choline.
The Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine established a dietary reference intake for choline in 1998. While there was insufficient evidence for an RDA, they did establish an Adequate Intake level (AI), based on the criteria for preventing liver damage (deficiency). The amounts are 450mg for women and 550 mg for men. The 2005 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey stated that only 2% of post-menopausal women consume the recommended intake for choline. Because of their lower estrogen concentrations, post-menopausal women have a higher dietary requirement for choline than do pre-menopausal women. Additionally, vegetarians who consume no milk or eggs may be at risk of inadequate intake.
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Suggested Use: For adults take 2 to 6 tablets daily in divided doses, preferably with meals.