Choline is not only one of the most under-discussed necessities for the human body but a nutrient we cannot overlook any longer. Basic cell structure, metabolism, and the transportation of nutrients through the body do not happen without choline. Perhaps the reason more discussion doesn't occur concerning choline is that it's present in common foods and is also produced by the liver. Interestingly, it is foods some people strive to avoid that are the most abundant sources of choline, including eggs and organ meats, especially liver. There are many health benefits of choline, all of which are good reasons to ensure sufficient consumption.
A poll from a few years back showed only about 15% of people have heard of choline, much less were aware of how important it is to proper body functions. Additionally, only 10% of people take in adequate amounts of choline in their daily lives. Considering its vital nature, this number is startlingly low.
Most pregnant women are immediately told to begin taking folic acid for themselves and the child growing inside them. Choline, however, is often overlooked, and yet is critical to brain development, particularly the region responsible for memory. Most women consume only about three-quarters the recommended daily intake of choline, which can increase the risk of congenital disabilities and affect the brain and spinal canal.
In addition to fetal and infant brain development, choline is important to cognitive function later in life, as well. Doctors have long been recommending choline as the body ages, to keep memory intact. As people continue to live longer and the mind declines, the importance of proper choline intake will increase.
Choline is necessary for the synthesis of phospholipids, phosphatidylcholine, and sphingomyelin, each of which is a key component in the makeup of cell membranes throughout the body. Additionally, choline plays a role in the prevention of metabolic syndrome, which causes insulin resistance and obesity, among other issues. Fatty liver disease is largely the result of choline deficiency and a low-protein diet.
As a member of the B-vitamin cornucopia, choline plays a key role in building the fatty parts of the cell membrane. It is also essential to the production of elastin, collagen, and the energy required to build rubbery proteins that keep the skin taut. As an antioxidant, choline can help protect the skin from free radical damage.
Choline has potent anti-inflammatory properties, and studies show people with sufficient quantities of the nutrient have fewer IL-6, TNF-alpha and C-reactive protein, inflammatory markers associated with cancer. Perhaps more importantly, a diet without enough choline, even for as little as a month, can increase the risk of cancer and DNA damage.
Athletes may find choline goes a long way to improve performance. Healthy levels of choline appear to increase stamina and optimize muscle performance during exercise. Physically active men should be ingesting about 550mg of choline per day, while women need about 425mg. It's rare to take in that much choline without the use of supplements unless you eat liver and eggs roughly two times a day.
While there have been numerous studies, experts do not yet unanimously agree choline can prevent heart attack and stroke. However, choline does reduce bad cholesterol levels while also converting homocysteine and other amino acids, which are linked to these conditions. So, you'll certainly not be hurting your heart by meeting the recommended amounts.
Cholene is of proven importance when it comes to the nervous system and the maintenance of brain cell membranes. The nutrient is also essential for tissue growth in the nervous system. It aids in the production of acetylcholine, which leads to optimum nerve function and which choline aids in the production. Owing to this it can improve cognitive functions through the aging process.
Though there remains minimal evidence, a few studies show choline can combat addiction to both alcohol and cocaine. Ongoing studies are looking at cholene's ability to aid people with prescription and non-prescription opioid addiction.
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