The Link Between B Vitamin Choline and Coronary Artery Disease

Lisa Nelson, RD, LN Health Pro
  • A proposed link between the B vitamin choline and coronary artery disease is being explored. The relationship between choline and coronary artery disease (CAD) may involve the accumulation of homocysteine and the effect these concentrated homocysteine levels have on endothelial cells (inner layer of blood vessels).

     

    Several studies have shown conflicting results. Some indicate that homocysteine levels are a key contributor and primary risk factor for CAD. On the flip side, several studies have shown no decreased CAD risk with a reduction in homocysteine levels.

     

    So, the importance of choline in reducing the risk of coronary artery disease is debatable. Regardless, choline plays important roles in metabolism and normal cell function, so it's worth knowing a little about this B vitamin.

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    Functions of Choline

     

    Fat metabolism
    Facilitates movement and coordination
    Component of all cell membranes

     

    Symptoms of Choline Deficiency


    High blood pressure
    High cholesterol
    Nervous system disorders


    Causes of Choline Deficiency

     

    Alcohol
    High intake of sugar
    Nicotine
    Folic acid deficiency

     

    Food Sources of Choline

     

    Beef
    Egg Yolks
    Oats
    Brewer's Yeast
    Chicken
    Nuts
    Peanut Butter

     

    How much choline do you need?

     

    The recommended choline intake ranges between 400-500 mg per day. Do not supplement more than 3 grams daily. Choline is a water-soluble vitamin which means it leaves the body fairly quickly. For this reason, if you supplement choline it's wise to break the dose in half and supplement twice a day. For example, this would mean 200-250 mg twice a day.

     

    Choline and Memory

     

    As an aside, acetylcholine and lecithin are derived from the B vitamin choline. Acetylcholine may protect against some forms of age related dementia. In the early 1970's and 1980's, abnormal uptake of acetylcholine, synthesis, and release was identified in individuals with Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease. However, there has been a lacks of strong experimental support to validate these findings in recent years.

     

    Be sure to sign up for the free e-course How to Lower Cholesterol in 8 Simple Steps at http://lowercholesterolwithlisa.com. This e-course is provided by Health Central dietitian Lisa Nelson.

     

Published On: September 09, 2010