It’s always beneficial to stay informed when it comes to your health and nutrition. In this article we are going to cover a key nutrient, choline. Despite how essential choline is, many people have never heard of it and may not know the significant role it plays in helping to maintain a good level of health.
What is Choline?
Choline is a nutrient that is essential for maintaining normal bodily functions and general health. Since our bodies only produce a small amount of choline, we need to ensure we get enough from other food sources.
Choline is a water-soluble compound that isn’t a vitamin or mineral, however it shares similarities with vitamin B so it is often grouped together with it. Choline supports your metabolism as well as cellular growth. It also impacts brain development, muscle movement and liver function, so it plays a key role in a lot of important bodily functions.
Why is it Unknown?
Choline is a fairly recently discovered nutrient, with it only being labelled as essential by the Institute of Medicine in 1998. This meant for a long time, the necessity of choline has been understated, however it is now recognised that we need to obtain the recommended amount of choline as part of our daily diets. The recommended amount for adult men is 550mg per day, whereas for women it’s 425mg per day.
Why is it Beneficial?
The role of choline is quite varied and it has a lot of beneficial effects. It plays an essential role in maintaining major bodily functions as it helps aid the brain, heart and nervous system. Specific health benefits of choline in terms of brain development include its ability to help improve memory and cognition. It also plays a role in protecting your heart health as it helps to regulate automatic body functions such as breathing and maintaining a normal heart rate. Additionally, choline helps form cell membranes and can also benefit your metabolism as it is helps to metabolise fats.
Where do I get it?
The majority of choline rich foods are meat-based products with chicken, pork, beef, salmon and eggs all containing high amounts. There are some plant-based options however as haricot beans, broccoli and peas all contain choline, albeit at a lower level when compared to meat-based food sources.
Another option to obtain choline is through taking food supplements. Cleanmarine Krill Oil contains a range of nutrients including choline and it can be taken alongside regular meals, ensuring you get your daily intake of choline if you're finding it difficult to obtain from your regular diet.
It’s possible for some people to suffer from a choline deficiency. As a lot of people are unaware of choline, it can go unnoticed when it is missing from their diet. The most likely groups of people to suffer from a choline deficiency include pregnant or post-menopausal women as well as endurance athletes. So if you fall into one of these groups, it’s important you ensure you are getting the recommended daily amount of choline.
The effects of a choline deficiency can be unpleasant, as it can cause muscle damage and liver damage. Thankfully, choline deficiencies are quite rare, however, if you are experiencing any of the effects then it is worth checking in with your doctor.
After reading this, you should hopefully be clued up on what choline is and how it benefits our health! If you feel you aren’t getting enough in your daily diet, then it is worth increasing your intake either by making a diet adjustment or through taking a supplement that contains choline.