Choline : Essential for proper liver function, metabolism of fats and proteins and nerve functions

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Choline is a chemical similar to the B-vitamins, and is often lumped in with them, is necessary for proper liver function, metabolism of fats and proteins and nerve functions.  It was only relatively recently that choline was officially classified as a vitamin and an essential nutrient. Its RDA was established for the first time in 1998.  However, its key benefits have been known since the 1930s, when it was found to prevent fatty build up in the liver.

Choline is also good for the brain.  It has been established that choline is necessary for optimal cognitive function.  It is a basic nutrient needed for the production of acetylcholine, the signaling molecule or neurotransmitter that is essential for many brain and nerve functions.  Choline is extremely important in brain and memory function, and is helpful in treating Alzheimer’s. Choline prevents gallstone formation, high blood pressure, atherosclerosis, kidney damage, nephritis, glaucoma, and myasthenia gravis. It is also used in the treatment of bipolar depression (manic depression).

CHOLINE BENEFITS & FUNCTIONS

  • constituent of lecithin (phosphatidylcholine), a key building block of cell membranes, important for cell formation and tissue growth and repair
  • needed for proper functioning of cell membranes, to allow passage of nutrients and waste products in and out of cells
  • needed for production of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, a chemical that is vital for many brain and nerve functions; is being experimented with for improving neuromuscular function in Alzheimer’s disease
  • essential for optimal brain functioning, learning and memory
  • needed for nerves to interact with muscles
  •  may help nervous system disorders like epilepsy or Parkinson’s disease
  • regulates the gallbladder and helps prevent gallstones
  •  regulates liver function, helps eliminate toxins, and is beneficial for liver damage related to hepatitis and cirrhosis
  • for fat and cholesterol transport and metabolism as an energy source
  •  natural lipotropic agent that minimizes excess fat in the liver
  • converts homocysteine in the blood to other substances, which lowers its level and helps prevent cardiovascular problems
  •  preliminary research shows that, in combination with betaine, may help reduce chronic inflammation linked to disorders such as osteoporosis, heart disease, brain decline, Alzheimer’s disease, and type II diabetes

Deficiency Symptoms

  • impaired fat metabolism and transport, which hinders fat from being an energy source, and is symptomized by decrease in blood levels of VLDL (Very Low Density Lipoprotein) which the liver uses to transport fats
  •  fatty build-up in the liver, which may lead to fatty degeneration of the liver, cirrhosis, and liver damage
  • raised levels of cholesterol or triglyceride (a type of fats)
  •  high blood pressure (hypertension)
  • high levels of homocysteine in blood, leading to risk of heart disease and other cardiovascular and circulatory problems
  •  respiratory distress in newborns or nerve degeneration or nerve-muscle imbalances due to insufficient acetylcholine, the neurotransmitter that cannot be made without choline
  • anemia arising from lack of red blood cell formation, as a cell membrane component, phosphatidylcholine, needs choline for its production
  •  kidney hemorrhage or kidneys unable to concentrate urine, due to insufficient phosphatidylcholine
  •  abnormal bone formation
  •  impaired growth in newborns
  •  fatigue
  •  insomnia
  • infertility
  •  as choline is critical for brain function and intake decreases with age, deficiency might lead to impaired memory or brain function or senile dementia (shortage of acetylcholine in the brain has been associated with Alzheimer’s disease)
Choline Foods sources
banana, cauliflower, flax seed, leafy green vegetable, legumes, nuts,  oranges, peanuts,   potatoes , seeds, tomatoes, vegetable oils and whole grains
Choline is  found abundantly in lecithin , egg yolks are equally rich. Blackstrap molasses is also a rich source of choline.  Lecithin (usually derived from soybeans) ·soybeans and soybean products.  Sunflower lecithin contain 25% more lecithin than soy lecithin.
 Lecithin helps the body digest absorb, and carry fat and fat-soluble vitamins in the bloodstream. It helps less fat and cholesterol to be deposited in the arteries and liver. Without it, the arteries become clogged, leading to hypertension and cardiac problems. Lecithin is not only essential for fat metabolism, but is needed for the synthesis of nucleic acids (DNA and RNA).
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