Why Your Blood Needs Choline (Know The Benefits)

Why Your Blood Needs Choline

You may have never heard of choline before, but it’s a vital nutrient for your body.

Choline is a water-soluble nutrient that the human body can’t produce on it’s own. The liver and brain are rich in choline, making it essential to maintain good health.

Learn more about why your blood needs choline in this article.

What is choline and what does it do?

Choline is grouped with the vitamin B complex. It is available in the diet as free choline, a water-soluble form such as phosphatidylcholine.

Your brain and nervous system need choline to regulate memory, mood, muscle control, and other functions.

You also need choline to form the membranes that surround your body’s cells.

Your liver can also make a small amount of choline, but most of the choline in your body comes from the food you eat.

Benefits and functions of choline

Choline’s role in human health begins prenatally and extends into adulthood. The functions and benefits include:

  • Neurotransmitter synthesis
  • Modulating gene expression
  • Cell membrane signaling
  • Lipid transport and metabolism
  • Brain development
  • Methyl-group metabolism
  • Preserve the structural integrity of blood cells

Metabolism: Choline is part of the process that helps metabolize and move fat out of the liver, keeping this vital organ healthy and functioning properly to filter nutrients and convert food into energy.

Energy: Choline promotes and regulates metabolism for increased energy, while sending messages from the brain to muscles for improved movement and endurance.

Memory: Choline helps the brain process and store memories, which is important for learning and retaining knowledge.

Is choline good for your blood?

Yes. Eating foods and taking dietary supplements containing choline is good for your body. Here are the reasons why your blood needs choline.

Heart helper

Choline reduces the amount of homocysteine in the blood. High levels of homocysteine increases the risk of heart disease.

Some research shows that getting enough choline might help keep the heart and blood vessels healthy, partly by reducing blood pressure.

Other research suggests that higher amounts of choline might increase cardiovascular disease risk.

Pregnancy and Lactation

During pregnancy and lactation period, the demand for choline is high.

Recent evidence suggests that, choline may help improve pregnancy outcomes and promote lifelong beneficial effects on memory and learning.

Large amounts of choline are delivered to the fetus across the placenta, and choline in amniotic fluid is 10-fold greater than that present in maternal blood.

Because human milk is rich in choline, lactation further increases maternal demand.

Maternal choline supply is critical to support fetal growth, including brain development.

Healthy liver

Choline controls fat metabolism by exporting fat out of the liver. This can help maintain normal liver function.

According to statistics, about 40 percent of Americans now have non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, in large part due to skyrocketing obesity rates.

Your blood needs choline to help the liver get rid of fats stored.

The liver makes very low density lipoproteins, this export fats out of the liver, where they can be transported to storage or converted into energy.

Brain and heart health

A growing number of older adults face chronic health problems such as heart disease and cancer.

But getting enough choline could help. That’s because choline helps keep the body’s homocysteine levels in check.

High levels of homocysteine in your blood can damage the lining of the arteries and raise the risk for blood clots, and are linked to greater risk for heart disease, cancer, cognitive decline and bone fractures.

What foods provides choline?

Choline is found in a wide variety of foods, mainly in the form of phosphatidylcholine, which is often called lecithin.

Among the most concentrated sources of dietary choline are:

  • Egg yolk
  • Offal
  • Liver
  • Wheat germ cereal
  • White fish
  • Steak
  • Canned salmon
  • Lima beans
  • Brussel sprouts

What about choline dietary supplements?

Some multivitamin-mineral dietary supplements contain choline, often in the form of choline bitartrate, phosphatidylcholine, or lecithin.

Dietary supplements that contain only choline are also available. Here are a few examples:

  • Jarrow Formulas Citicoline
  • Nested Naturals Choline Bitartrate
  • NOW Supplements Choline & Inositol
  • Thorne Phosphatidylcholine

Are you getting enough choline in your blood?

The diets of most people provide less than the recommended amounts of choline.

Even when choline intakes from both food and supplements are combined, total choline intakes for most people are below the daily recommended amounts.

Certain groups of people have
trouble getting enough choline:

  • Pregnant women
  • People with certain genetic conditions
  • People who are being fed intravenously

What happens if you don’t get enough choline in your blood?

Although most people don’t get enough choline, few people have symptoms of choline deficiency.

One reason might be that choline is not found naturally in many foods, and most sources provide a fraction of the amount we need each day.

However, if choline levels drop too low, this can lead to muscle and liver damage as well as deposits of fat in the liver.

How much choline do you need?

The amount of choline you need depends on age, gender, absorptivity and bioavailability.

The average daily recommended amounts of choline are listed below in milligrams.

  • Birth to 6 months: 125 mg
  • Infants 7–12 months: 150 mg
  • Children 1–3 years: 200 mg
  • Children 4–8 years: 250 mg
  • Children 9–13 years: 375 mg
  • Teens 14–18 years: 400 mg
  • Men 19+ years: 550 mg
  • Women 19+ years: 425 mg
  • Pregnant women: 450 mg
  • Breastfeeding women: 550 mg

Is choline harmful to the blood?

Getting too much choline can cause a fishy body odor, vomiting, heavy sweating and salivation, low blood pressure, and liver damage.

Some research also suggests that high amounts of choline may increase the risk of heart disease.

The daily upper limits for choline include intakes from all sources are listed below.

  • Children 1–3 years: 1,000 mg
  • Children 4–8 years: 1,000 mg
  • Children 9–13 years: 2,000 mg
  • Teens 14–18 years: 3,000 mg
  • Adults: 3,500 mg

Does choline interfere with medications?

Choline is not known to interact with any medications. However, your doctor and other healthcare provider should know about the supplements and prescription of medicines you take.

They can tell if the medicines might interfere with how your body absorb and uses choline.

Takeaway

Choline, a water-soluble nutrient in vitamin B complexes, acts as a neurotransmitter, maintains the integrity of cells and helps in metabolism.

Choline has many benefits such as keeping your liver healthy, metabolizing fats, providing energy and reducing the risks of heart problems.

Choline in foods such as nuts, leafy greens, legumes, seed oils, and grain germs, provides only a small fraction of the nutrient, which is not enough to meet the daily requirement.

However, taking both foods and dietary supplements containing choline prevents deficiencies, liver disease and heart diseases.

Remember to seek medical assistance from a health care provider when taking choline supplements.

Related Post: Why Your Blood Needs Vitamin B6

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