Addictive Potential: None
Emergency Room Visits Yearly: No recorded hospital visits
Mandatory Minimum Sentence: None
Mechanism of Action: increases acetylcholine
Choline is a nutrient, essential for cardiovascular and brain function, and for cellular membrane composition and repair. Choline is an organic compound, classified as a water-soluble essential nutrient and usually grouped within the Vitamin B complex. This natural amine is found in the lipids that make up cell membranes and in the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. Adequate intakes (AI) for this micronutrient of between 425 to 550 milligrams daily, for adults, have been established by the Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences.
Choline and its metabolites are needed for 3 main physiological purposes: structural integrity and signaling roles for cell membranes, cholinergic neurotransmission (acetylcholine synthesis), and as a major source for methyl-groups via its metabolite, trimethylglycine (betaine) that participates in the S-adenosylmethionine synthesis pathways.
When choline is metabolized by the body, it may form trimethylamine, a compound with a fishy odor. Hence, when large amounts of choline are taken (such as 10-16 grams/day as a dietary supplement), the person may suffer from a fishy body odor.
Choline as a Supplement:
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires that infant formula not made from cow’s milk contain choline.
Choline has also found its way into nutritional supplements that reduce body fat. There is little or no evidence to prove it has any effect on body fat whatsoever.
The foods richest in phosphatidylcholine, the major delivery form of choline, are beef liver, egg yolks and soya. Beef liver, iceberg lettuce, peanut butter, peanuts, sunflower seeds, and cauliflower are some foods that contain free choline.
Choline was discovered by Andreas Strecker in 1862 and chemically synthesized in 1866. In 1998 choline was classified as an essential nutrient by the Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine (U.S.A.) and Adequate Intakes (AI) have been established.