Choline is an essential nutrient. We can produce small amounts of choline (via the hepatic phosphatidylethanolamine N-methyltransferase pathway), but most people need to get this nutrient through the diet to avoid deficiencies. Choline is an organic, water-soluble compound. It is neither a vitamin nor a mineral. However, it is often grouped under the vitamin B family because of its similarities. In fact, this nutrient affects a number of vital body functions. It affects liver function, healthy brain development, muscle movement, the nervous system and metabolism.
Choline is mainly found in our phospholipids. Phospholipids are the main building blocks of our cell membranes. This is the membrane around the cell. Phospholipids are hugely important for the normal functioning of our cells. Choline is the building block of phosphatidylcholine a substance abundant in our brain that plays a crucial role in the transmission of nerve impulses. Hence, choline is essential for proper brain function. In adults and the elderly, choline intake is associated with better cognitive function and a lower incidence of dementia
In addition, choline is an essential substance required for proper liver function. Especially fat transport and metabolism: it is essential for making a substance needed to remove cholesterol from the liver. The fats and cholesterol from our diet are packaged in the liver into VLDL (very low density lipoproteins). The VLDL and LDL then transport it to the tissues. Without phosphatedylcholine, the VLDL cannot do its job which causes accumulation of fat and cholesterol in the liver. This can lead to fatty liver
Choline is also the precursor of the substance acetylcholine. Acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter in the nervous system that transmits signals from nerve cells to muscle cells. Choline thus plays a role in muscle activation and skeletal muscle contraction. In addition, acetylcholine is also the substance of our parasympathetic nervous system. It is a so-called calming neurotransmitter It causes blood vessels to dilate, it slows the heart rate, it improves digestion, etc.
Finally, Choline can also be enabled as a methyl donor because Choline is converted into betaine (methyl donor) in the body. On the one hand, methylation plays a prominent role in gene expression. This means that certain genes can be switched on or off. Like folate (folic acid), it also plays a role in the methylation of homocysteine to methionine. In short, intake of choline can also lower homocysteine. Excessive homocysteine is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Reduced folate availability increases the need for choline as a methyl donor while reduced choline availability increases the need for folate as a methyl donor.
Finally, it is also argued that in the perinatal phase, the contribution of choline is essential to ensure optimal cognitive development and prevent neural tube defects. Despite their important role in health, most population groups do not reach their adequate intake of choline, and even some groups, such as pregnant women or women of childbearing age, have a higher risk of suboptimal intake.
100 V caps
- an important building block of phospholipids: brain function
- supports liver function
- choline is the precursor of acetylcholine
- in pregnancy