What is Choline?

Choline is an essential nutrient that is similar to a vitamin. It is important for many functions in the body, including:

  1. Cell structure: Choline is a component of cell membranes, which are the outer layer of cells that help to protect and regulate their internal environment.
  2. Neurotransmitter synthesis: Choline is needed to produce acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that plays a role in memory, mood, and muscle control.
  3. Lipid transport and metabolism: Choline is needed to transport fats from the liver to other parts of the body, and it also helps to metabolize fat in the body.
  4. DNA synthesis: Choline is involved in the synthesis of DNA, which is the genetic material that contains instructions for the development and function of all living organisms.

Choline is not considered a true vitamin because the body can synthesize it in small amounts, but it is still important to obtain choline from the diet to ensure adequate intake.

What are the benefits of Choline?

Choline has several important benefits for the body, including:

  1. Brain function: Choline is a precursor to acetylcholine, supporting memory, mood, and cognitive function, potentially reducing the risk of cognitive decline.
  2. Liver health: Choline aids in fat transport and metabolism in the liver, helping prevent or treat liver disease.
  3. Muscle function: Choline is important for muscle control and can help to improve athletic performance.
  4. Pregnancy and fetal development: Choline is important for fetal brain development and may help to prevent birth defects.
  5. Heart health: Choline may reduce inflammation and improve cholesterol levels, lowering the risk of heart disease.
  6. Mood and mental health: Choline may help to improve mood and reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression.

Note: Further research is needed to fully understand choline's potential benefits and determine optimal intake levels.

What research is on Choline?

Research on choline has focused on brain function and cognitive health, with notable studies indicating:

  1. Higher choline intake associated with better cognitive performance in women (2011).
  2. Prenatal choline supplementation improving cognitive function in children at age 7 (2012).
  3. Higher choline intake linked to reduced risk of cognitive decline in older adults (2016).
  4. Choline supplementation improving attention and memory in healthy adults (2017).
  5. Choline supplementation enhancing cognitive function and reducing depression symptoms in adults with mild cognitive impairment (2020).

Research has also explored choline's role in liver health, muscle function, heart health, and fetal development.

What is the mechanism of action of Choline?

Choline's primary mechanisms of action include:

  1. Precursor to acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter influencing cognitive and motor functions.
  2. Involved in the synthesis of phosphatidylcholine (cell membranes) and sphingomyelin (nerve fiber insulation).
  3. Plays a role in lipid metabolism, liver function, reducing inflammation, and improving cholesterol levels.

Choline is crucial for maintaining brain function, liver health, lipid metabolism, and fetal development.

What is the typical dosage of Choline?

The recommended daily intake of choline (Adequate Intake values) varies based on age, sex, and other factors. For instance:

  • Adults (19+ years): 550 mg/day for males, 425 mg/day for females.
  • Pregnant women: 450 mg/day.
  • Breastfeeding women: 550 mg/day.

It's essential to note that some individuals, especially vegetarians and vegans, may not consume enough choline. In such cases, supplements (typical dosage: 250-500 mg/day) may be considered after consulting with a healthcare provider.

What food are rich in Choline?

Choline can be found in a variety of foods, including:

  1. Egg yolks: One large egg yolk contains about 115 mg of choline.
  2. Beef liver: A 3-ounce serving of beef liver contains about 355 mg of choline.
  3. Chicken liver: A 3-ounce serving of chicken liver contains about 222 mg of choline.
  4. Fish: Certain types of fish, such as salmon, cod, and tuna, are good sources of choline. A 3-ounce serving of cooked salmon contains about 212 mg of choline.
  5. Milk: One cup of whole milk contains about 38 mg of choline.
  6. Soy products: Soybeans and soy products, such as tofu and soy milk, are good sources of choline.
  7. Nuts and seeds: Some nuts and seeds, such as almonds and sunflower seeds, contain moderate amounts of choline.

Choline is an essential nutrient, and ensuring an adequate intake through a balanced diet is crucial.


Kansakar, Urna et al. “Choline supplements: An update.” Frontiers in endocrinology vol. 14 1148166. 7 Mar. 2023, doi:10.3389/fendo.2023.1148166