Best sources of choline:
|Product||Serving size||Calories||Amount (mg)|
|White beans||1 cup||258||81.5|
|Brussels sprouts||1 small plate||60||63.5|
|Broccoli||1 small plate||43||62.6|
|Pinto beans||1 cup||234||60|
|Mexican beans||1 cup||224||54|
|Cauliflower||1 small plate||28||48.5|
|Asparagus||1 small plate||43||47|
|Spinach||1 small plate||164||4.8|
|Skimmed milk||1 cup||121||42.9|
|Cabbage||1 small plate||33||30.3|
|Pumpkin||1 small plate||79||21.7|
|Avocado||1 small plate||235||20.6|
The beneficial effects of products rich in choline:
- They encourage the proper functioning of cell membranes;
- Help the neuromuscular communication;
- Prevent the accumulation of homocysteine.
Which indications require consuming more products rich in choline?
- Accumulation of fats in the blood;
- Neuromuscular problems;
- Poor ability of the kidneys to concentrate the urine.
THE IMPACT OF STORAGE, PROCESSING AND COOKING
There are no certain information about the impact that the storage, processing and cooking, have on the choline’s portion of the products. Overexposure to heat and oxygen can damage the choline, as well as the other B-group vitamins and therefore it is not recommended to overcook the products rich in this nutrient.
PUBLIC HEALTH RECOMMENDATIONS
In 1998, the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) established Adequate Intake (AI) standards for choline. These AIs are as follows:
- 0 – 6 months: 125 mg
- 6 – 12 months: 150 mg
- 1 – 3 years: 200 mg
- 4 – 8 years: 250 mg
- 9 – 13 years: 375 years
- 14 – 18 years, female: 400
- 14 – 19 years, male: 550 mg
- 19+ years, female: 425 mg
- 19+ years, male: 550 mg
- Pregnant women: 450 mg
- Lactating women: 550 mg
FDA has not established the reference values for choline declaration.
WHY DO WE NEED PRODUCTS RICH IN CHOLINE?
Although the choline has recently been listed among the B-vitamins, it has been a subject of nutritional studies for more than 150 years. Key findings related to it appeared in the 1930s, when the researchers discovered that the pancreatic tissue contains a compound which can prevent deposition of fat in the liver. That substance is called choline, according to the greek word chole, which means liver. From the 30s onwards, a lot of studies have shown that the choline is not found only in the pancreas but also in all body cells. Besides being the only such substance that can modify the fats, it is also chemically unique, because it is a triple methylated molecule (compound which contains three methyl groups). By consuming products rich in choline we increase the body consumption of this important nutrient as well as other nutrients which act synergistically with the choline. This process stimulates its physiological function and contributes to optimal health.
BENEFICIAL EFFECTS OF THE CHOLINE ON THE HEALTH
It stimulates the brain health
The choline is the key element of many structures of the cell membranes which contain fats. Given the fact that the cell membranes are almost entirely built from fat, their flexibility and survival, key elements for keeping the cells healthy, depend on adequate supply of choline. The choline is particularly needed by the phosphatidylcholine and the sphingomyelin, two structures that are present in the brain. From this we can conclude that it is especially important for the brain health.
It boosts the metabolism of the methyl groups
Due to its uniqueness as a triple methylated molecule, the choline is especially important for the metabolism of the methyl groups. A lot of chemical reactions are enabled just because of the transfer of these methyl groups from one place to another. This way the genes in the body can be turned on and off and the cells could use the methylation to exchange messages. The choline is also important for the metabolic cycle which balances the amount of homocysteine.
Supports the nervous system activity
Choline is the backbone of a nervous system signal molecule – or neurotransmitter – called acetylcholine. The acetylcholine is the main chemical tool for neuromuscular communication.
WHAT ARE THE REASONS FOR CHOLINE DEFICIENCY AND ITS SYMPTOMS?
Besides insufficient intake of products containing choline, there are other reasons for choline deficiency, for example, poor consumption of other nutrients such as niacin, folic acid and amino acid methionine. These three substances are needed for the choline to get its three methyl groups which constitute its chemical structure. Also, problems such as cirrhosis often lead to choline deficiency. The choline deficiency could lead to accumulation of homocysteine, which increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases. It could also result in fatigue, insomnia, neuromuscular problems, poor ability of the kidneys to concentrate the urine, memory problems.
The consequences of choline deficiency are especially noticeable in the liver because it affects the way the liver synthesizes and transports the fats. The main symptom of the change in the synthesis of the fats is lowering the level of VLDL in the blood. Increase in the level of the triglycerides in the blood can be a result of this process.
CAN WE CONSUME TOO MUCH CHOLINE?
Daily dosages of choline in the range from 5 to 10g, may result in lowering of the blood pressure, weakness and dizziness. These quantities are much higher than the quantity consumed by an average diet. In 1998, NAS established the following values as the Tolerable Upper Intake Levels for choline: children 1 – 8 years: 1g; 9 – 13 years: 2g; 14 – 18 years: 3g; 19+ years: 3,5g.