Choline is an important nutrient that is obtained in foods, mainly in the form of phosphatidylcholine, but also as free choline. While the body produces a little of it, people should be obtaining more of it through diet or supplementation. It's found in foods like egg yolks, peanuts, meats, lettuce, wheat germ, and legumes.
Choline is very important in regulating the nervous system and brain functioning. It's a main component of cell membranes and sphingomyelin, which is a part of the protective sheath that covers all of the body’s nerves to make nerve signals travel faster and more efficiently throughout the body.
Choline is also critical to the production of acetylcholine, the most abundant neurotransmitter in your body. Acetylcholine is responsible for nerve transmission all over the body in every process from thinking to sending signals to move your muscles. Choline, then, is necessary for proper nerve functioning - it's known to influence muscle contractions, movement, and coordination.
How is Choline Important?
Reduces Cholesterol and Keeps Liver Healthy
Researchers believe choline helps prevent cholesterol from attaching to cell walls. This removes cholesterol from tissues and makes the blood less "sticky" so it can flow through arteries more easily. In a number of studies where choline was supplemented, cholesterol levels dropped significantly!
Choline keeps the liver healthy by helping to move fats from the liver to cells in the body. Studies show that it helps in a number of liver disorders, including hepatitis, cirrhosis of the liver, diabetic fatty liver, and liver damage by medications, drugs, alcohol, and so on.
Choline helps to enhance memory and improve cognitive functioning and behavior, especially in Alzheimer’s patients.(People with Alzheimer's usually have low levels of acetylcholine in the brain, so extra choline helps with this deficiency.)
Increases Athletic Endurance
Choline can increase athletic endurance by increasing acetylcholine stores. In one study, runners who took choline shaved an average of 5 minutes off their times over a 20-mile course compared to runners who took a placebo.
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