Choline – a missing ingredient?

eggsCholine is an essential nutrient found in certain foods and is required by our bodies to be healthy and well.

Our bodies use it in cell membranes, it’s used to create the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, and it’s used in a cycle related to Sam-e.

Acetylcholine plays a role in memory and muscles.  Sam-e is thought to help joint health and mood.

Choline is often lumped in with the B-vitamin group.  Choline helps brain development and actually helps prevent birth defects.  Along with folic acid.

Some studies have suggested that people simply aren’t getting enough choline in their diets.  One study said that 98% of postmenopausal women don’t get adequate amounts of choline in their diet.  98%??

The suggested intake of choline is 425mg for women and 550mg for men.  And obviously if you are bigger than the average bear, then you’ll need more.  I’m 6’6 tall, so my choline intake is probably 600 – 700mg.  And that’s just to meet the adequate intake levels, forget about optimal intake.

So where do we get choline from?  Which foods have the highest amount?

Eggs for one.  One egg has 113-125 mg of choline.  Weren’t we told by some ‘idiots’ in the 80’s to avoid eggs?  That eggs were bad for us??  It certainly doesn’t look that way to me.  Besides being a great source of choline, eggs also have protein, lutein, and zeaxanthin (both of which are needed for eye health).  Eggs are also a good source of essential fatty acids and Vitamin D.  Another popular deficiency these days.

So what other foods are good sources of choline?

Beef Liver – 1/3 of a pound has 473 mg of choline

OR to get your full days amount, you could eat anyone of the following* (or a combo):

2 1/2 pounds of Broccoli (455 mg)
2 1/2 pounds of Cauliflower (430 mg)
2 1/2 cups of Wheat Germ (500 mg)
2 1/2 quarts of Milk (433 mg)
6 cups of firm Tofu (450 mg)
4 pounds of Spinach (450 mg)
24 cups of Cooked Brown Rice ((~450 mg)
6 cups of Peanuts or Almonds (450 mg)

* Source: Wikipedia.  Although when I cross-referenced with the USDA Database, the values were significantly off.  Eggs actually had MORE choline at 145mg each and broccoli had much LESS at 84 mg per pound according to USDA.gov.

Maybe that’s why I didn’t feel good as a vegetarian?  I wasn’t eating 4 pounds of spinach a day.

Looking at this list, it does make a person wonder if we aren’t all just running around with nutritional deficiencies that are causing ADHD, mood disorders or Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s.

Luckily the body can generate SOME of the choline we need each day.

And of course throughout the day, if we eat proteins, fats and veggies with each meal, then maybe some of us might get adequate amounts.

It also makes a person wonder if we should be supplementing, just in case.  There are 5 popular forms of choline that you can take in a capsule from a Vitamin Store:  Lecithin, Alpha-GPC, Citicholine, Phosphatidyl Choline and Choline Bitartrate.  I’ve tried them all.  And Alpha-GPC will definitely wake up your brain.

Still though, there is apart of me that would rather just eat more eggs, or other protein sources and more veggies and try to get the essential nutrients we need directly from food.  I think that is the ideal.  If possible.

One Response to “Choline – a missing ingredient?”

  1. […] for a variety of functions, including memory.  About a year ago, I posted a blog post about choline deficiency.  All I’ll say is that it does make me […]

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