Choline – Vitamin B4
Choline is a relation of the vitamin B-complex family and it is naturally produced by the body to burn fat. Choline is important for liver function, muscle movement, energy levels and maintaining a healthy metabolism. IT BURNS FAT. Choline reduces anxiety and depression and is critical for brain development and nerve function. Choline is used in the synthesis of specialised fat molecules in our bodies, called phospholipids. The most common of these is phosphatidylcholine (lecithin) which is a critical component of human cell membranes. Choline is important for transporting lipids, especially cholesterol, which is the building block of many hormones such as testosterone. Choline is such an important nutrient that the body has the ability to produce it de novo via the methylation dependent enzyme PEMT.
- Choline supplementation can improve fat metabolism and be used as an antioxidant, as well as encourage rapid body mass reduction.
- Choline acts as an estrogen methylator. So taking choline will reduce estrogen levels in men.
- Choline protects your liver and can reverse fatty liver disease.
- Fat burning: Choline plays an important role in the metabolism of fat as an energy source. This action of choline makes it valuable in preventing conditions like fatty liver or excess fat in the blood. Choline’s efficient metabolism of fats has also been linked to a greater level of satiety, which, in turn, leads to a decreased consumption of calories, resulting in overall weight loss. According to an American study, adding choline-rich eggs to breakfast helped obese patients on a low-fat diet lose weight compared to patients who ate a bagel for breakfast with the same number of calories.
- The body needs choline to synthesise phosphatidylcholine and sphingomyelin, two major phospholipids vital for cell membranes. All plant and animal cells need choline to preserve their structural integrity. Every single cell requires large amounts of phospholipids, especially phosphatidylcholine, to build healthy cell walls and function normally. In fact, PC is the most important building-block of the cell wall, and more than 90% of the body’s choline is stored as phosphatidylcholine in the membranes of cells with only a small amount circulating as free choline.
- Choline is converted into betaine which functions as a methyl donor (adds a carbon group to molecules) needed for many steps in metabolism.
- Synthesis low-density lipoproteins (LDL and VLDL). The need for choline was discovered when it was found that people who were being fed intravenously got fatty livers (choline fixed this). The fatty livers were caused by an accumulation of triglycerides as a result of the liver’s inability to synthesize and release very-low-density lipoprotein (VLDL).
- Choline is needed to produce acetylcholine, an important neurotransmitter for memory, mood, muscle control, and other brain and nervous system functions.
Lecithin (essential in our bodies cells) is considered an excellent source of choline because it breaks down into choline in the body. Lecithin can be found in many foods, including soybeans and egg yolks. Lecithin is taken as a medicine and is also used in the manufacturing of medicines. It is also used for treating memory disorders such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
How much choline do I need?
There is no RDA for choline, but an adequate intake is thought to be 550mg per day for men and 425mg for women. But in reality, way more is needed (the upper limit is 3500mg, or 3.5g). When a diet is deficient in folate the need for dietary choline rises because choline becomes the primary methyl donor. You will also need more if you drink alcohol frequently.
Betaine and Choline
Choline must be present for betaine to be synthesized in the body. Betaine is created by choline combining with the amino acid glycine. Betaine is considered to be a “methyl donor.” This means it aids in liver function, detoxification and cellular functioning within the body. Betaine’s most crucial role is to help the body process fats. Wheat and wheat germ is by far the best source of betaine.
Beef liver (100g): 400mg
1 Egg :147mg
Beef (100g): 140mg
Bacon (100g): 100mg
Soybeans (½ cup): 107mg
Chicken breast (100g): 90mg
Prawns, salmon, cod (100g): 120-170mg
Shitake mushrooms (½ cup): 58mg
1 large potato: 57mg
Milk (1 cup) 43mg
Yogurt (1 cup) 38mg
Cruciferous veg (1 cup): 20-30mg
Sources: ncbi.nlm.nih.gov, mercola.com, clinicaltrials.gov, draxe.com, drrostenberg.files.wordpress.com