Choline: Often rolls off the tongue when I'm describing the benefits of animal foods in the human diet. But what is it?? And why is it so essential?
I'm going to explore what Choline is, the best high choline foods and why it is so essential.
What is Choline?
It is an essential compound. Not a vitamin or mineral. Functions similarly to Vit B
The body does produce a small amount but primarily it is sourced from our food.
The Benefits of Choline in the Diet.
Because of its wide-ranging roles in human metabolism, from cell structure to neurotransmitter synthesis, choline-deficiency is now thought to have an impact on diseases such as liver disease, atherosclerosis and possibly neurological disorders.
Below is what this miracle compound does:
- It produces acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that supports memory, learning and cognitive function
- It is a key component of phospholipids providing cell structure and cell integrity.
- It helps cells communicate about nutrient transport and cellular waste disposal.
- In older adults, research has shown it is essential for memory and recall
- It is involved in DNA replication and cell division
- It plays an important role in immune response
- It is essential during and before pregnancy to support the brain development and avoid Neural tube deficiency.
What Happens if I Dont get enough Choline?
Because the presence of choline is so important it is no surprise that the consequences of a diet that lacks it can present a number of impaired processes.
- Impaired brain function
- Liver damage and fatty liver disease.
- Impaired muscle function.
- Impaired foetal development and lifelong cognitive problems
- Increased inflammation
- Increased risk of pregnancy complications
Also other stressors like endurance athletic sports, heavy drinking, or post menopausal can all increase the requirements of choline in the body. Without it in the right amounts the above groups will all show the signs of lacking choline.
And now for the good news:
Choline is easy to get in all our favourite animal foods.
Foods high in Choline:
The top foods high in Choline are:
Beef Liver: 100gm of liver 418.2mg choline
Ribeye: 227mg of meat 385 mg Choline
Eggs: 1 egg 147 mg of Choline
Salmon Roe: 100gm of roe 247.5mg Choline
Salmon meat: 170gm of meat 191.4mg of Choline
Vegetables do contain choline but not enough to be useful!! Best to stick with animal foods and be confident that you are getting the right amounts.
Recent Studies referenced:
The importance of choline in the diet extends into adulthood and old age. In a study of healthy adult subjects deprived of dietary choline, 77% of the men and 80% of the postmenopausal women developed signs of subclinical organ dysfunction;
Pregnancy and lactation are times when demand for choline is especially high and the supply of choline is critical.
Findings from the ATTICA study indicated that subjects whose diets were rich in choline and betaine had the lowest levels of several inflammatory markers, including C-reactive protein (CRP), homocysteine.
High dietary intakes of choline have recently been associated with a decreased risk for breast cancer.
Thanks for joining me on this journey. I appreciate your time and your continued support. PLEASE keep spreading the word that ancestral eating is good for you and great for your long term health goals.