Choline

Uses

Principal Proposed Uses

Other Proposed Uses

Choline has only recently been recognized as an essential nutrient. Choline is part of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which plays a major role in the brain; for this reason, many studies have been designed to look at choline's role in brain function. Choline functions as a part of a major biochemical process in the body called methylation; choline acts as a methyl donor. Until recently, it was thought that the body could use other substances to substitute for choline, such as folate , vitamins B 6 and B 12 , and the amino acid methionine . But recent evidence has finally shown that, for some people, adequate choline supplies cannot be maintained by other nutrients and must be obtained independently through diet or supplements. 1-3

Requirements/Sources

Choline is widespread in the foods we eat. The average diet provides about 500 mg to 1,000 mg of choline per day. 2,4 Lecithin, a fatty constituent in foods, is a major source of choline; it is comprised mostly of a type of choline called phosphatidylcholine (PC). Lecithin and PC have been studied separately as treatments for a variety of illnesses; for more information on these supplements, see the full article on Lecithin . According to US and Canadian guidelines, the recommended daily intake of choline is as follows:
  • Infants
    • 0-6 months: 125 mg
    • 7-12 months: 150 mg
  • Children
    • 1-3 years: 200 mg
    • 4-8 years: 250 mg
    • 9-13 years: 375 mg
  • Males
    • 14 years and older: 550 mg
  • Females
    • 14-18 years: 400 mg
    • 19 years and older: 425 mg
  • Pregnant Women : 450 mg
  • Nursing Women : 550 mg

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