What is Choline?
Choline is a unique compound found within your body. Neither a vitamin nor a mineral, choline is simply considered a compound.
As an essential nutrient (meaning your body needs it for normal functionality), choline comes in both a water-soluble (dissolves in water) and fat-soluble (dissolves in healthy fats) form. Different forms are how your body transports and utilizes choline via absorption.
Water-soluble choline is processed through the liver where it is converted into a healthy fat called lecithin. Your body produces this type of choline, but it can also be found in some foods.
In contrast, fat-soluble choline gets ingested and absorbed via the gastrointestinal tract, meaning fat-soluble choline comes from the choline you ingest. This is the most common type of choline found in foods.
What Does Choline Do for Your Body?
What are the benefits of choline for your body? Since choline is classified as an essential nutrient, you definitely need it for everyday body functions.
Choline supports healthy cell function, DNA synthesis, nervous system functioning, and metabolism. It acts as an aid in these functions for overall better health performance.
Your body makes choline naturally, but in order to get the suggested amount you need, you’ll have to incorporate choline-rich foods or supplements into your diet.
One of the big benefits of choline is its support for a healthy heart. Choline not only supports the nerves in the heart, but it also helps keep your blood vessels healthy too.
One of the central building blocks of the nervous system is neurotransmitters. These are the compounds that send messages across your neurons throughout the brain. Choline plays an essential role in the development of these neurons. In your body, choline gets converted into the neurotransmitter called acetylcholine. Known for regulating your mood, aiding your memory, and supporting your intelligence, acetylcholine plays a vital role in brain function. Not to mention, acetylcholine helps synthesize DNA, an essential building block for cell growth in your body.
Livers need minimal amounts of fat. In fact, fat build-up can damage your liver. Choline actively works to regulate fat build-up in your liver, helping your liver function at optimal levels.
The Top Benefits of Choline
We’ve talked about how choline provides the building blocks for essential organ function, but what are the health benefits of choline in your everyday diet?
Provides Support for Pregnancy and Fetal Health
Fetal development relies on a wealth of nutrients for a healthy baby and birth parent. One study has shown that during the first trimester, choline intake may help mitigate neural tube defects. Additionally, another study took a look at taking choline supplements in the third trimester of pregnancy. The results indicated that maternal choline supplementation may help support proper fetal vascular function, including the formation of new blood vessels.
Boosts Your Metabolism
Choline plays a key role in metabolizing fats. It’s newer science (meaning that there haven’t been a ton of studies yet), but it’s believed that this is done by lowering the levels of leptin in the body. As a result of reduced levels of leptin, your metabolism gets a boost, which, in theory, can lead to more efficient processing of fats.
Supports Memory Performance
Choline has long been linked to increased brain function, thanks to being a handy building block for neurotransmitters. This function complements the EPA and DHA Omega-3 fatty acids found in supplements like krill oil, which are two nutrients that play a formative role in brain structure and performance.
How Much Choline Do You Need a Day?
Your daily choline intake heavily depends on your age, sex, and whether or not you’re pregnant. But here are the general guidelines for how much you need per day to enjoy the benefits of choline:
0–6 months: 125 mg per day
7–12 months: 150 mg per day
1–3 years: 200 mg per day
4–8 years: 250 mg per day
9–13 years: 375 mg per day
14–19 years: 400 mg per day for women and 550 mg per day for men
Adult women: 425 mg per day
Adult men: 550 mg per day
Breastfeeding people: 550 mg per day
Pregnant people: 930 mg per day
Which Foods Contain the Benefits of Choline?
Although your body produces some choline, you get most of this vital nutrient through nutritious food However, many people in the United States don’t get enough of this vital nutrient through their daily diet alone.
Choline-rich foods include:
Wild-caught fish such as shellfish, scallop, and tuna.
An easy way to get more choline in your diet is via supplements. While there are choline specific supplements, you can also find choline contained in other essential nutrient supplements, such as krill oil. Krill oil has countless benefits for our overall health, and getting choline is another big benefit to this daily supplement. Kori Krill Oil Omega-3 softgels deliver 60 mg of choline per serving, making them a good source of this nutrient.
Do I Have a Choline Deficiency?
Most people don’t get enough choline in their diet, especially in the US. This is what makes supplements so important to your daily routine.
Some people are at a higher risk of choline deficiency, including endurance athletes.
When you’re engaging in prolonged exercise at an extreme level, your body quickly depletes essential nutrients.
Like most nutrients, your body needs more choline while pregnant. The unborn baby requires choline just like you do. Taking a krill oil supplement during pregnancy can help increase your choline intake.
Post-menopausal people also experience a dip in choline. Thanks to lower estrogen levels, the body doesn’t produce choline as easily. Changes in the diet, as well as a supplement, can help combat these effects.
Learn More About Choline and Super Nutrients
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