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ALL ABOUT CHOLINE

Why choline is good for you

Choline is one of the B vitamin co-factors. It assists the B vitamins to function more effectively.

Choline is called the brain food, because it is necessary to make a neurotransmitter that is crucial for brain functions (acetylcholine) and to also to help make the fatty membranes of the brain cells (phospholipid). Choline works closely with vitamin H (biotin) and inositol as well as all the B Vitamins to turn foods eaten into energy for the body.

Choline moves fats from the liver by metabolising them. Choline keeps fats from building up in the liver, thus preventing a “fatty” liver.

Important choline facts

  • Choline isn’t a B vitamin, as it can be made in the body, but it is a vital nutrient and B vitamin co-factor
  • Choline works in complicated ways with folic acid and cyanocobalamin (vitamin B12) to make them work more effectively
  • Some choline is found in all animal and plant foods, but the best sources are from foods that contain lecithin.

Choline and health

  • Help for Alzheimer’s disease – people with Alzheimer’s Disease usually have low levels of acetylcholine, so there has been a great deal of research about choline and phosphatidylcholine, to determine how useful choline may be in in curing or preventing Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Cardiovascular disease – research indicates that even moderately elevated levels of homocysteine in the blood increases the risk of heart disease. Choline assists in the conversion of homocysteine to methionine, a harmless (actually a very beneficial) amino acid, that is not a threat to heart health
  • Cancer – in a study of rats, choline deficiency appeared to be associated with a higher degree of spontaneous liver cancer and increased sensitivity to carcinogenic chemicals. This could be most likely due to choline deficiency causing liver damage and increasing the likelihood of DNA damage through high homocysteine levels
  • Cognitive functioning – studies show that eating foods rich in choline very early in life, diminished the severity of memory problems in aged rats

Talk to a medical professional about choline supplements before taking them.

Choline recommended daily intake (RDI)

RDA lifestage age amount
INFANTS 0-6mths
7-12mths
125mg
150mg
CHILDREN 1-3yrs
4-8yrs
200mg
250mg
CHILDREN 9-13yrs
male: 14-18yrs
female: 14-18yrs
375mg
550mg
400mg
ADULTS male: 19-50yrs
female: 19-50yrs
550mg
425mg
SENIORS male: 51+yrs
female: 51+yrs
550mg
425mg
PREGNANT 450mg
LACTATING 550mg
TOLERABLE UPPER LIMIT lifestage age amounT
INFANTS 0-12mths n/a*
CHILDREN 1-8yrs 1000mg
CHILDREN 9-13yrs
14-18yrs
2000mg
3000mg
ADULTS 19-50yrs 3500mg
SENIORS 51+yrs 3500mg
PREGNANT <18yrs
19-50yrs
3000mg
3500mg
LACTATING <18yrs
19-50yrs
3000mg
3500mg
TOXIC LEVELS Relatively non-toxic, but some toxicity symptoms can occur at supplement levels greater than 5-10g (5000-1000mg)

The tolerable upper limits should only be taken for short periods and only under medical supervision.

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