Choline As A Nutrient
Choline is an essential nutrient that is required for normal body function.
Though the liver makes small amounts of choline, it is insufficient to meet the body's needs. So, one must obtain choline through diet.
Chemically, choline is an organic, water-soluble compound that is neither a mineral nor a vitamin.
Despite this, choline is grouped under B vitamins due to its similarities.
Choline is essential for healthy brain and liver function and muscle movement and affects the nervous system and metabolism.
Choline is metabolized in the liver, and most of it is converted into phosphatidylcholine.
This phosphatidylcholine helps in building fat-carrying proteins and breaking down cholesterol.
Choline is also called the ‘food’ for beneficial gut bacteria.
Xcode Life's Choline DNA Report
Researchers have identified several genes associated with choline deficiency.
In the sample report below, we've attempted to analyze some important genes that increase the risk of choline deficiency.
Benefits of Choline
Choline is required for several essential body functions and offers many health benefits, such as:
- Improves memory and cognition
Choline is a vital nutrient required for brain health and development.
Two studies demonstrated this:
- A British Journal of Nutrition study stated that people with higher choline levels had better cognitive functioning than those with low levels.
- A 2019 study found that low choline, zinc, and vitamin C levels were linked to poor working memory in older men.
- Protects the heart
A 2018 study found that a higher dietary choline intake was linked to a lower risk for ischaemic stroke. The study had 4,000 African-American participants.
- Boosts metabolism
A study conducted in 2014 reported that choline plays a role in fat metabolization.
It was found that female athletes who took choline supplements had lower body mass indexes (BMI) and leptin than the control group.
Leptin is a hormone that controls the amount of body fat.
- Reduces the risk of pregnancy complications
Choline is vital for healthy fetal development and may affect pregnancy outcomes.
A study conducted on women in their third trimester found that women who took higher doses of choline had reduced markers of preeclampsia.
Preeclampsia is a high blood pressure condition that may occur during pregnancy.
- Improves symptoms of cystic fibrosis
A 2018 study found that choline supplements improved lung function and reduced symptoms of fatty liver diseases in 10 adult males with cystic fibrosis.
Who Needs Choline Supplements?
While most people get their choline requirement from the diet each day, certain groups of people may need additional supplementation. They include:
- Vegans and vegetarians
- Pregnant women
- Individuals with certain genetic disorders
- Individuals who are fed through their veins
Are Choline Supplements Beneficial for Pregnant People?
It is essential to take choline supplements during pregnancy.
Choline supports fetal brain and spinal cord development.
Choline deficiency can cause congenital disabilities, such as cleft lip, cardiac defects, and hypospadias.
Research has shown that children whose birth parents took adequate amounts of choline have better attention, memory, and problem-solving skills.
Since prenatal vitamins contain very little choline, healthcare providers usually recommend an additional supplement.
Types of Choline Supplements
Choline supplements are readily available following forms:
- Contain only choline
- Choline combined with B vitamins
- As part of a multivitamin or multimineral combination
No research or study to date states that any of these forms is better than the other.
The amount of choline in each supplement varies, so it is important to read the label before choosing a supplement.
It is advisable to take choline supplements based on the recommendation of a healthcare professional.
What Is The Best Choline Supplement?
According to research, Puritan’s Pride Concentrated Ultra Lecithin is a quality choice when it comes to choline supplements. It is affordable, offers a well-absorbed form of choline, and can be used safely throughout pregnancy.
Bestvite Cognizin is another quality choline supplement product that is great for pregnant women and is said to improve cognition in children, according to research.
NOW Supplements Choline and Inositol is one of the most affordable choline supplements recommended by Healthline.
Another effective choline supplement, which is also Healthline’s top pick is Jarrow Formulas Citicoline (CDP Choline).
This product is highly recommended because it is readily absorbed and proven more effective for memory, thinking and overall brain health.
**Xcode Life doesn’t recommend any particular brand/supplement. Kindly seek the advice of a qualified medical practitioner before taking choline supplements.
Food Sources of Choline
Infants get their choline requirement from breast milk.
A few common dietary sources for children and adults include:
- High-protein foods like beef, fish, poultry, eggs, and soybeans
- Vegetables like broccoli, mushrooms, and potatoes
- Whole grains, including rice, quinoa, and whole wheat bread
Some fortified foods may also contain choline in the form of lecithin.
Summary: Best Choline Supplement
- Choline is an essential micronutrient that is required for normal body functions.
- The small amount of choline produced by the liver is inadequate, so choline-rich food and supplement intake is recommended.
- Choline provides several health benefits, such as improved brain function, better metabolism, and reduced pregnancy complications.
- Few groups of people, such as vegans, pregnant women, and those with certain genetic conditions, require choline supplements.
- Though there are different types of choline supplements, it is best to follow a prescription by a registered medical practitioner.