The consumption of fruits and vegetables daily can significantly reduce the risk of chronic diseases and premature death, according to studies. Essential nutrients are necessary to maintain a healthy body. Proper nutrition makes a real impact on maintaining good health. Here Dr. Joseph Mercola, Mercola.com, reflects on choline health benefits:
“Choline was first discovered in 1862,1 but it wasn’t until 1998 that the Institute of Medicine recognized it as an essential nutrient for optimal health. Being a newly acknowledged nutrient doesn’t take away from its worth, though, since it’s found to play a vital role on the function of your liver, brain, nervous system and metabolism.2
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However, around 90 percent of the U.S. population is not consuming enough choline because popular dietary guidelines limit the consumption of its dietary sources. Most physicians and dietitians are also unware its biological importance.3
In fact, a recent survey shows that out of several nutrients, choline is the least likely to be recommended, with only 10 percent of the surveyed health professionals endorsing choline-rich foods to their patients.4
What Is Choline?
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Choline is neither a vitamin nor a mineral — it’s an organic water-soluble compound that’s often grouped with vitamin B complex, since it has similar functions and properties. It affects many important processes in your body, including:5,6
- Cell structure — Choline is necessary for the synthesis of phosphatidylcholine and sphingomyelin, which are phospholipids that help maintain the structural integrity of the cell membranes.
- Cell messaging — The phospholipids that are synthesized from choline also act as a precursor for the intracellular messenger molecules, diacylglycerol and ceramide.
- Fat transport and metabolism — Choline is necessary for turning fat and cholesterol into lipoproteins called very low density lipoproteins (VLDL). It also helps transport VLDL into the bloodstream and to the extrahepatic tissues, preventing fat and cholesterol from accumulating in the liver.
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- DNA synthesis — According to a study published in the journal Mutation Research, choline is a major source of methyl groups necessary for the synthesis of S-adenosylmethionine, which is needed for epigenetic marking of DNA and histones.7
- Nervous system function — Choline is a precursor for acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter involved in various neuronal functions, including muscle control, circadian rhythm and memory.
Because of its extensive role in various physiological functions, being deficient in this nutrient may predispose you to a number of health consequences, including muscle damage, excess fat and cholesterol buildup, and liver disorders like nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).8 Some people are also at a higher risk of choline deficiency than others, including:9
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- Pregnant women — Since large amounts of the maternal plasma choline are transported to the fetus during pregnancy, pregnant women are at a higher risk of being deficient. Lactation also increases the demand for choline because breastmilk is rich in this nutrient.10
- Postmenopausal women — Postmenopausal women have a higher demand for choline, since their low estrogen level puts them at a higher risk of developing liver and muscle damage due to choline deficiency.1
- Endurance athletes — Choline levels may decrease during endurance exercises.12
- Alcoholic people — Excessive alcohol consumption increases your choline requirement, making you more susceptible to deficiency.13
- Vegetarians — Since most of the choline-rich foods come from animal-based sources, vegans and vegetarians may not be able to consume enough choline from their diet.14
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While your liver has the ability to produce small amounts of choline, you still need to obtain high amounts of it from the foods that you eat. Some people opt to take dietary supplements like choline bitartrate, choline chloride, choline citrate, CDP-choline and alpha-GPC.
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Keep in mind, though, that these supplements may not be the best sources of choline. For instance, choline chloride usually ends up as food for gut bacteria because of its low bioavailability. If you really want to optimize your body’s levels of this nutrient, I suggest that you consider adding choline-rich foods into your diet first.
What Are the Best Food Sources of Choline
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You can effectively increase your body’s levels of choline through your diet, since it’s found in a variety of foods, including:15
|Grass fed beef liver — A 100-gram serving of braised beef liver contains 430 milligrams (mg) of choline.16||Organic, pastured egg — One large hardboiled egg provides 146.9 mg of choline.17|
|Turkey liver — An 83-gram serving of simmered turkey liver provides 182.8 mg of choline.18||Brussels sprouts — A half-cup of boiled Brussels sprouts contains 31.7 mg of choline.19|
|Pastured chicken — You can obtain 73.4 mg of choline for every 86-gram serving of roasted chicken breast meat.20||Broccoli — A half-cup of boiled broccoli provides 31.3 mg of choline.21|
|Cauliflower— A half-cup of boiled cauliflower contains 24.2. mg of choline.22||Shiitake mushrooms — A 97-gram serving of stir-fried shiitake mushrooms contains 57.6 mg of choline.23|
|Asparagus — A half-cup of boiled asparagus provides 23.5 mg of choline.24||Cabbage — You can get 15.2 mg of choline by consuming a half-cup of boiled cabbage.25|
Some of the other foods that are high in choline include wild-caught Alaskan salmon, collard greens, bok choy, shrimp and sardines.26 Taking krill oil may also help you improve your choline levels, since it provides 69 choline-containing phospholipids, most of which have omega-3 fatty acids.”
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Read More … Article Source: https://articles.mercola.com/vitamins-supplements/choline.aspx
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