What is Choline, what is it used for, and how much should I be taking or eating?

What is Choline, what is it used for, and how much should I be taking or eating?

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When I first began creating my nutritional/medicinal wholefood database, sources I was drawing from identified Choline as a mineral. In preparing to answer the above questions, although it is related to various salts the body uses and creates (though minimally in Choline’s case), continued research into it’s properties reveals it is neither mineral nor vitamin, and is currently identified as an “essential nutrient” or “essential micro-nutrient”, and is water-soluble, meaning it can be washed away or dissipate out into water when the foods it is in are cooked in water. After you finish reading this article, you’ll have yet one more reason not to throw out your cooking water, but keep it for making soups, adding to breads and baking, etc. Don’t toss your nutrition down the drain!

Let’s look at how others describe this very important nutritional constituent.

Dr. Axe describes Choline this way:


“Choline is present in the form of phosphatidycholine, a compound that makes up the structural component of fat, and thus can be found in different types of foods that naturally contain certain fats.”

“Choline is a water soluble nutrient that is related to other vitamins, such as folate and those in the B vitamin complex family. Just like B vitamins, choline plays a similar role in terms of supporting energy and brain function, as well as keeping the metabolism active.

What is choline most beneficial for? Choline helps in the process of methylation, which is used to create DNA, for nerve signaling, and for detoxification. It’s also important for the functioning of a key neurotransmitter called acetylcholine, which similarly helps nerves to communicate and muscles to move, acts as an anti-aging neurotransmitter, and performs other basic processes.

Choline is not actually considered a mineral or a vitamin, but is known to be an essential micronutrient needed for many functions of the body, especially for brain function.”

From Dr. Mercola’s Top Tips for a Healthier 2022 article:

“Tip 5: Boost Your Liver Health With Choline
Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a common condition caused by an unhealthy processed food diet. Aside from cutting out processed foods high in sugars and seed oils, adding in more choline can be helpful, as it appears to be a key controlling factor in arresting the development of fatty liver.

It does this by enhancing secretion of very low density lipoprotein (VLDL) particles in your liver, which are required to safely transport fat out of your liver. Choline deficiency may result in excess fat and cholesterol buildup. Choline also aids in DNA synthesis and is important for healthy mitochondrial function.

Choline-rich foods to consider loading up on include wild-caught Alaskan salmon, krill oil, organic pastured chicken, vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower and asparagus, shiitake mushrooms, grass fed beef liver and pastured egg yolks.

A single hard-boiled egg can contain anywhere from 113 to 147 milligrams of choline, or about 25% of your daily requirement, making it one of the best choline sources in the American diet. Only grass fed beef liver beats it, with 430 milligrams of choline per 100-gram serving.”

From New Eden’s various NHP training manuals:

“Eggs are rich in choline, which is important in reducing the accumulation of fat in the liver as well as repairing some types of neurological damage.”

If too much choline is taken as a supplement, it can lead to dizziness, nausea, diarrhea, depression and a fishy odor, among other potential side effects.

NOURISH by WebMD, has this to say about Choline:

“Our bodies produce this vitamin-like compound in our liver, but not at sufficient levels. We need to get the rest of our body’s requirements from food.

The richest dietary sources of choline are meat, fish, dairy, and eggs. Many fruits, vegetables, and whole grains contain choline as well, so there are plenty of options for people on vegetarian or plant-based diets.”

brain“Research shows that getting enough choline in your diet is essential to brain health and nervous system function, and plays a role in memory and learning processes.”

“The Food and Nutrition Board recommends that men and women get 500 milligrams and 425 milligrams of choline per day, respectively. Women who are pregnant should increase their intake by about 25 milligrams and breastfeeding women by 175 milligrams.

Our bodies make a small amount of choline, but we need to get most of our daily total from dietary sources. While most people don’t get enough in their diet, deficiencies are rare. At very low levels, a lack of choline can lead to muscle or liver damage.”

In addition to the nervous system and liver health, Choline also assists with your body’s metabolism by helping your body break down fats necessary for strong cell membrane structure, and carrying nutrients to various locations as well.”

According to WebMD, the fact that Choline is most readily found in animal sources of protein, puts those on plant-based diets at a disadvantage due to the choline ratio in the plant kingdom occurring at far lower levels. Having said that, in a list of 9 foods one can find choline, WebMD offers vegans and vegeterians and olive branch:

“Choline is present in most green vegetables but most heavily concentrated in broccoli. One cup of cooked broccoli has more than 60 milligrams of choline, which makes it an excellent source for people who avoid meat and dairy products.”

This is compared to one cup of 2% milk at 40mg, cheeses landing between 36 and 65mg per 100gms, fish caviar and roe at 95 – 139mg per single ounce, chicken at 15% of total Adequate Intake (AI), a single large egg at nearly 140mg, and ground beef at 100mg per cup.

I don’t often recommend WebMD as they can get fairly snide and condescending on the food as medicine front, but this time ’round, they are actually being rather fair about the discussion.

NIH, which we now know we must take with a grain of salt, shares similar numbers to WebMD for Adequate Intake (AI) of Choline:

NIH-Choline Fact Sheet for Professionals Table1 and 3NIH does not have information on bioavailability of this compound in the various foods it covers. It also doesn’t confirm other studies showing some of the heart-health and neurological benefits of the compound.

NIH however, does have a handy breakdown of a list of various foods in the animal and plant kingdoms that contain choline:

Choline - Health Professional Fact Sheet food table

NIH’s numbers conflict with WebMD’s numbers here, but the point here isn’t so much the numbers themselves, as they will vary from one researcher to another, but just to give an idea of the foods that are higher in choline than others, so that if you feel your body has need of a boost in this area, you know what to reach for.

Of the various foods in this list above, the one I do NOT recommend you eat, is soy!  First, it is almost exclusively GMO these days.  Second, most soy sold in North America has not been properly fermented and as a result, contains too much phyto-estrogen to be safe for young girls, older women, and men in general.  If non-GMO’d, properly fermented soy can be found, it has a host of natural benefits, but those benefits are outweighed by the problems associated with GMO and lack of proper fermentation.

As it stands in today’s mainstream efforts to scare everyone and keep them scared around viral, bacterial, and parasitic threats that seem to be designed to directly attack cell integrity from engineered viruses to the “vaxx” solutions to these threats, to new variants of these threats and their so-called “solutions”, you need to be doing as much as you can to ensure cellular health, immunity, elimination of threats, and maintaining a healthy gut to get your food into your body to deal with all of this.

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