How Choline Effects The Body
Choline is needed to do many things in the body, but most people are not getting enough of it each day and are at risk of developing a choline deficiency. What exactly is choline and what does it do for your body? Continue reading to learn more about the health benefits of choline.
What Is Choline
Choline is an essential nutrient, meaning that it is needed for proper bodily function and other aspects of human health. It is used in the brain and nervous system to regulate memory, mood and muscle control. Choline is also used to form the membranes that surround the cells inside of your body. Your liver can make small amounts of choline in your body, however, you need to get most of it from your diet to avoid a deficiency.
As previously mentioned you need to make sure that you are getting enough choline in your diet each day to avoid developing a deficiency. You need to get the daily amount recommended. These numbers are:
- Children: 200-375 mg (milligrams)
- Teenage Boys: 550 mg
- Teenage Girls: 400 mg
- Men: 550 mg
- Women: 425 mg
The National Institute Of Health states that “Although most people in the United States don’t get recommended amounts of choline, few people have symptoms of choline deficiency.” This could be because the liver is making a little bit and keeping you from having these symptoms. However, if you do happen to have a deficiency then you may experience things like:
- Muscle pain
- Mood disorders
Too Much Choline
While it is important to make sure that you are getting enough choline into your diet, you need to keep in mind that getting too much choline can lead to side effects like a fishy body odor, vomiting, heavy sweating, low blood pressure, and even liver damage. The upper limits of choline goes as follows:
- Children 8 & Younger: 1,000 mg
- Children 9-13: 2,000 mg
- Teens: 3,000 mg
- Adults: 3,500 mg
Foods With Choline
You can get choline from many different foods where it is found naturally. You can get the recommended amount by adding these to your diet:
- Meat such as poultry and fish
- Eggs and dairy products
- Potatoes, brussels sprouts, broccoli and cauliflower
- Certain beans, nuts, and seeds
Health Benefits of Choline
The first one of the health benefits of choline is its ability to help keep the heart healthy and working properly. A review published back in 2011 showed that a higher intake of choline is associated with a reduced risk of heart disease. This is good as long as you do not go past the upper limits of choline that were mentioned above. Antioxidants are another great way to lower the risk of heart disease. Check out this article to learn more about what they are and How Antioxidants Affect Your Body.
Along with its ability to be beneficial for your heart, choline can help your brain too. It can improve your memory and overall brain function, and assist in the development of the brain in young children.
Memory & Brain Function
As previously mentioned, choline can improve your memory and overall brain function. One study showed that in adults aged 50-85, supplementing 1,000 mg of choline each day could lead to improved short and long-term verbal memory. This improvement will take time and will not just happen overnight to receive the benefits.
The evidence that choline can aid in brain development is mixed. Some studies show that there is no link between Choline and improvement in brain development. However, there are also studies that show the opposite.
For example, one study showed that in 1,210 pregnant women, choline intake had no link to a mental performance by the time they were 3 years old. On the other hand, a different study showed that a higher intake within the second trimester was associated with better memory scores in the same children as the previous study. While there is a chance that choline might not be beneficial, it would not hurt to increase your intake if you are pregnant as long as you are staying within the recommended limits.
These are not the only benefits of choline. There are many more that research is showing and more studies are being done each year to prove whether or not choline has an effect on certain aspects of the body. Some areas that they are looking at are its effect on the liver and liver disease, the link between choline and a lower risk of breast cancer, and even the link between choline and a lower risk of neural tube defects.
There are many different benefits of choline that you can receive if you reach the daily recommended amount and do not go over the upper limits to avoid any harmful consequences. To reap the benefits, choline can improve your heart, brain function, memory, and development in young children, and many more.