Choline and Your Heart Health

Are you even familiar with the B vitamin choline? There is a good chance you are not. The Institute of Medicine didn't even establish a dietary reference intake for this nutrient until 1998.

Choline, like magnesium, plays a role in just about every bodily system. Two compounds are derived from choline - acetylcholine and lecithin. Acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter for the peripheral and central nervous systems. Acetylcholine may protect again certain age-related dementias. Lecithin is a more generic term encompassing yellowish-brown fat tissue.

Choline Sources

The body can produce choline in small amounts, but not in large enough quantities to support good health. You must consume choline from dietary sources. Choline can be found in many foods, such as:

Beef - 67 mg choline per 3 ounces

Egg - 172 mg per egg

Peanut butter - 20 mg per 2 Tbsp

Salmon - 56 mg per 3 ounces

Broccoli - 62 mg per 1 cup

Choline Functions

There are many bodily functions that require choline, such as:

Fat metabolism (synthesis of phospholipids)

Movement and coordination (compound of neurotransmitters)

Cell membrane component

Lowers LDL Cholesterol

Precursor to acetylcholine (neurotransmitter impacting memory)

Normal brain function

Choline Deficiency

Symptoms associated with choline deficiency include high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, and nervous system disorders. Choline deficiency consistently leads to fatty liver disease, which can cause inflammation and scarring of the liver.

Excess alcohol consumption, high sugar intake, low folic acid intake, and nicotine can all contribute to a choline deficiency.

How much do you need?

It's currently recommended you consume 400-500 mg daily. Choline is a B vitamin, which means it is water soluble and travels through the system quickly. If you require a choline supplement, it would be best to divide the supplement and take twice a day. However, if you are deficient, my first recommendation is to look at the foods in your diet and increase your intake of sources high in choline.

If you are currently working to lower blood pressure levels, be sure to sign up for the free e-course 7 Natural Ways to Lower Blood Pressure at http://lowerbloodpressurewithlisa.com.

Lisa Nelson, RD, LN
Meet Our Writer
Lisa Nelson, RD, LN

Lisa Nelson RD, a registered dietitian since 1999, provides step-by-step guidance to lower cholesterol and lower blood pressure, so you can live life and enjoy your family for years to come. Lisa's passion for health comes from her own family history of heart disease, so she doesn't dispense trendy treatments; Lisa practices what she teaches in her own daily life. Because her own health is the foundation of her expertise, you can trust that Lisa will make it truly possible for you to see dramatic changes in your health, without unrealistic fads or impossibly difficult techniques.