Choline Supplement Health Benefits
Scientific facts of Choline that may benefits our health
what is Choline
Choline, also known as Trimethylethanolamine or Choline Bitartrate or choline chloride or choline dihydrogen, is an essential nutrient and the molecule mostly used for either its cognitive boosting properties (turning into acetylcholine, the learning neurotransmitter) or as a liver health agent, able to reduce fatty liver buildup. This water-soluble essential nutrient is grouped within the B-complex vitamins. There are two potent types of choline: CDP choline, also called Citicoline, and Alpha GPC choline. They produce the most benefits in the body. Although Choline can be made in the liver in a very small amount, the majority of it must be obtained from the diet. It is actually a basic component of lecithin that can be found in foods like fish, eggs, and muscle meats. It is important as a precursor of acetylcholine, as a methyl donor in various metabolic processes, and in lipid metabolism. The dietary supplement is used in various diseases including liver, psychiatric and neurological disorders. Choline plays a key role in cognitive function, learning and memory, muscular function, cardiovascular function, and child growth and development.
Choline is considered as an essential nootropic supplement for anyone whose goal is to optimize the brain. It is important for brain health, intelligence, and synaptic plasticity. This macronutrient is important for liver function, normal brain development, and muscle movement, nerve function, supporting energy levels and maintaining a healthy metabolism. Choline is impressively beneficial for both physical health and brain health. Choline is required for neurotransmitter synthesis (acetylcholine), cell-membrane signaling (phospholipids), lipid transport (lipoproteins), and methyl-group metabolism (homocysteine reduction). It is the major dietary source of methyl groups via the synthesis of S-adenosylmethionine (SAMe). It is also needed to make the phospholipids phosphatidylcholine, lysophosphatidylcholine, choline plasmalogen, and sphingomyelin—essential components for all membranes. It plays important roles in brain and memory development in the fetus and appears to decrease the risk of the development of neural tube defects. The common health benefits of choline include:
- Improves cognitive performance 
- Makes learning and working memory better 
- Promotes central nervous system (CNS) 
- Forms DNA and cell structures 
- May reduce the inflammation 
- Helps people who show the symptoms of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Disease 
- Lowers the risk of cancer 
- May help with schizophrenia, bipolar, and autism 
- Increases athletic performance 
- May help improve symptoms of glaucoma 
- Maintains healthy liver function 
- Maintains heart health 
- Supports a healthy pregnancy 
- Improves children’s growth and development 
- Helps with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) 
Similar to the group of vitamin B complex, choline has a role in terms of supporting energy and brain function, and also keeping the metabolism active. This nutrient is used for liver disease, including chronic hepatitis and cirrhosis. It is also used for depression, memory loss, Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, Huntington’s chorea, Tourette’s disease, a brain disorder called cerebellar ataxia, certain types of seizures, and a mental condition called schizophrenia. The athletes use it for bodybuilding and delaying fatigue in endurance sports. Choline is also taken by the pregnant women to prevent neural tube defects in their babies and it is used as a supplement in infant formulas. Besides these uses, it has also other uses such as it lowers cholesterol, and helps control asthma.
How it works
Choline is an important contributor to the structure and properties of cell membranes. It is involved in the synthesis of phospholipids and other structural components of cell membranes, and as a precursor for the important neurotransmitter acetylcholine. This essential nutrient is required for normal development of the brain. Via its metabolite betaine, it participates in the synthesis of S-adenosylmethionine, a major methyl donor for histone and DNA methylation, two epigenetic mechanisms that regulate gene expression and may alter brain function. Besides its role in methyl group metabolism, choline also has pivotal functions, including the maintenance of structural integrity of membranes and modulation of cholinergic neurotransmission, functions that are often dysregulated in some neurodegenerative disorders. Choline has been implicated as an epigenetic modifier of the genome that may alter gene methylation, expression, and cellular function. Abnormal level of choline during fetal or early postnatal life has been shown to alter memory functions during adulthood. It may also contribute to the etiology of stress-related disorders and age-related decline in memory later in life. Recent studies show that choline supplementation during critical periods of neonatal development can have long-term beneficial effects on memory. During later periods of pregnancy, the memory center of the brain (the hippocampus) is developing. In animals, choline supplementation or depletion during this critical phase causes lifelong changes in brain structure and function.
Choline is considered to be a safe nutrient when taken in appropriate dosages. But some adverse effects may occur when daily dosages exceed 3.5 g. The reported side effects may include high/low blood pressure, diarrhea, steatorrhea (undigested fat in the stool), nausea, vomiting, excess salivation, constipation, appetite suppression and anorexia, dizziness, feelings of agitation, increased sweating, insomnia, and headaches. Again, some patients who are under diagnosis with trimethylaminuria, Parkinson’s disease, or kidney or liver disease should avoid high doses. If you develop a symptom called fish odor syndrome due to the inability to metabolize trimethylamine which is produced when eating foods with Choline, you can use a high quality supplement like Alpha GPC or Citicoline otherwise reduce your intake to suggested dose levels.
Choline is generally very well tolerated and safe while taken at appropriate dosages. An appropriate dosage depends on many different factors including age, weight, sex, and personal sensitivities. The suggested maximum dosage for children between 1-8 years of age should be below 1 gram daily. For children between 9-13 years of age, the maximum recommended dosage should be 2 grams daily. For children between 14-18 years of age, the maximum dosage can be 3 grams of choline daily. And a dose of 3.5 grams choline should be the maximum dosage range for adults over 18 years of age. However, it is always recommended that you consult your doctor or healthcare provider to determine the best dosage for your personal needs.