Marc S. Schneider, M.D.
Choline is a critical but often overlooked micronutrient that is responsible numerous bodily functions. But you’ve never even heard of choline? That’s ok, most people haven’t.
Choline is a vitamin-like nutrient that is essential in the human diet. Foods such as egg yolks, cauliflower, spinach, nuts, and different organ meats are high in it.
It is a micronutrient that benefits all nerve tissue. That means brain function, memory, cognition, mood, and all neural connections in the body.
This interesting nutrient is critical for the methylation of DNA, RNA, and protein, a process which is needed for their biosynthesis. Think of DNA as the code behind an app. Choline acts as the switch that allows the commands of the app to function.
Choline is used in the body to form phosphatidylcholine which is a major constituent of every cell and mitochondrial membrane. The mitochondria are the power plants of cells and are responsible for regulating how fats and glucose are used.
The liver is very dependent upon adequate amounts of choline as well. Without it, liver cells die, fatty infiltration occurs, and other body tissues can be damaged.
Would it surprise you if I told you that less than 10% of the population is consuming adequate amounts of Choline? If you have a typical modern diet, you probably eat a lot of muscle (chicken breast, steak, fish), but muscle meats are lower in choline than organ meat and eggs.
Had any liver or a big plate of cauliflower and spinach lately?
The recommended daily intake increases from infant to teenager. By the age of 14 through your adult years, it is recommended that you consume at least 500 mg daily.
You don’t have to be a part of that 90% who are choline deficient. You are the architect of your body and it is an agent that can maximize your function and change your today into a better tomorrow.
With that being said, let’s explore what this amazing micronutrient has to offer:
CHOLINE IS A NOOTROPIC
In layman’s terms, a nootropic, also known as smart drugs and cognitive enhancers, are natural bioactive compounds, or synthesized drugs, that improve cognitive function, particularly executive functions, memory, creativity, motivation, organization, and impulse control.
You may wonder, are nootropics good for you? In short text, yes. Nootropics can benefit everyone in some way or another. We wrote about the mental and health benefits of nootropics in our blog.
Choline is a proven nootropic that can benefit your day-to-day functionality. It is why we formulated it into E Energy & Focus.
Are you someone who struggles studying for a big exam? Or possibly your somebody who finds yourself hitting “the wall” when trying to complete the million work tasks you have on your plate?
Trust me, even when you accomplish these tasks, there is always something else. That’s where choline comes into play.
You have the opportunity to increase your brain power and tackle tomorrow with ease. This micronutrient helps bridge the gaps, empower your memory, and strengthen your cognitive retention.
The scientific studies have proven this, it’s just up to you if you want to join the focus train and maximize your brain’s potential.
HOW CHOLINE IS USED BY THE BRAIN
Choline acts as the precursor of a neurotransmitter in our bodies called acetylcholine.
Acetylcholine is an organic chemical used by the brain and nerves throughout the body to send signals to other cells. We utilize these signals for everything in the body from short term and long term memory, to reacting to a painful stimulus, to creating healthy nerve and muscle functions like working through a set of bicep curls.
Increasing available choline allows our nervous system to strengthen its interconnectivity and pathways, ultimately increasing our body’s productivity.
Choline strongly supports the central nervous system (CNS). This micronutrient is crucial for nerve functioning, enhancing nerve signaling and stabilizing the membranes of our brain cells.
It is a “one stop shop” for improving the CNS.
In addition, it is very important for the fetus during pregnancy. Choline helps form the tissues needed for brain and organ development. In fact, most infant formulas have added choline necessary for proper growth.
So how does a deficiency affect the nervous system? A deficiency in dietary choline could lead to poor acetylcholine production, which can result in impaired memory and learning, poor concentration, mood changes, and other physiological declines. These are similar symptoms and complaints that we see in the aging brain.
Knowing this, it almost seems silly to not take in the efficient amount of choline our bodies yearn for.
REDUCE ANXIETY AND STRESS
Original Photo by Sweet Ice Cream Photography on Unsplash
Lets be honest… we could all benefit from having less stress in our lives!
Mild forms of anxiety from life events such as job loss is a normal aspect of life. However, nearly 40 million adults in the United States experience more severe and long lasting forms of anxiety. Now what if I told you that there’s a supplement you could take to help reduce your stress and lower your levels of anxiety?
Depression and anxiety can be hard to generalize as each individual is different. Not only does your environment play a role in your mental state, it is also heavily influenced by your brain chemistry as well.
A study in the “American Journal of Clinical Nutrition” explains that a link exists between low choline levels and increased risk for anxiety. The research showed that the lowest levels of choline were strongly linked with high anxiety symptoms. In retrospect, higher choline levels were linked to lower levels of anxiety.
Studies have also extended into providing linkages between choline and decreased levels of stress for females during pregnancy. Do you see the picture I’m trying to paint?
Currently, most individuals try to combat their depression and anxiety by taking prescription medications. Due to a rising concern regarding antidepressant medications, many people are looking for alternative methods.
Trust me, no one has a prozac or cymbalta deficiency. Yet, 70% of the patients that come into my office are on some sort of prescription anti-depressant or anxieolytic. And none of them have had their choline micronutient levels checked.
Although our bodies have the ability to produce choline, we do not typically produce a sufficient amount. As a direct precursor to acetylcholine, low acetylcholine levels leads to low amounts of GABA levels in the brain. GABA is widely known for it’s ability to regulate high levels of stress.
Choline can serve as your healthier option to fight depression and lower your levels of anxiety!
IMPROVE BRAIN FUNCTION, MEMORY AND COGNITION
As we age, the function of our brain and the neural networks we’ve created tend to decline. Choline is important in its effect to keeping our cognitive abilities sharp. Choline is an important component of the membranes we create and improves our neural connectivity as the precursor to acetylcholine.
Why is this important?
Think of neural connections as a spider web. In a spider web, there are multiple ways we can get from point A to point B. We can think back to a specific memory better if we have multiple neural connections relating back to that memory.
Choline helps strengthen that web of neural connections, preserving those memories and strengthening those connections.
When we think of memory, memories are created through experiences and strengthened through repetition of that memory in your mind. This causes new connections between brain neurons.
Choline aids in ensuring the connectivity of neurons are made and built structurally sound. Hence memory is improved.
Every time a nerve fires, acetylcholine is released. This then has to be replenished. Without adequate acetylcholine in reserve, the neural transmission slows down.
Studies support the notion that lower levels of acetylcholine lead to cognitive decline. A nice medical way of saying your brain isn’t working as well.
Studies also show that higher levels of choline intake are associated with better cognitive performance.
Cognitive decline comes in many forms such as not remembering to do certain tasks, not being able to memorize as well, losing your creativity, lack of focus, and when we take it to extremes, Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
In today’s age in medicine, we do not have a cure for Alzheimer’s disease and the many forms of dementia. It is a progressive disease that can only be “slowed down.” The treatments for these diseases actually mimic the effects of choline by keeping the neurotransmitters alive at a functioning capacity.
This is where we come back to preventing the problem before there is one. If we have the ability to strengthen our levels of acetylcholine by intaking more choline, it would seem foolish not to do so.
MAINTAINS HEALTHY LIVER FUNCTION
Choline serves great purpose to the functionality of our liver.
The primary functions of the liver are to filter blood from the digestive tract before it can be sent to the rest of the body. The liver is also notably important for detoxifying chemicals and metabolizing different drugs that enter the body. While doing so, the liver creates a substance called bile, which helps our bodies carry away waste products and helps break down fats in our small intestines during digestion.
Choline deficiency can lead to liver damage and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD or hepatosteatosis). This is the most common chronic liver disorder, present in up to 65% of individuals who are overweight and up to 90% of individuals who are obese. NAFLD can lead to fibrosis, cirrhosis, liver failure, and even liver cancer.
Without choline, we would not be able to properly transport necessary fats from the liver to cells in the rest of the body.
Have you ever heard of a liver detox or liver cleanse? Well choline is your liver’s natural cleanse that acts by making sure the liver does not accumulate excess fatty build-up.
Choline serves its purpose in the liver by aiding the transport of cholesterol and triglycerides, two fats that are needed throughout the body. Proper dosages of choline can support the body’s natural liver functions, preventing fat build-up and further problems such as blood clotting.
Studies show that low levels of choline have been related to patients more at risk of liver damage and even to the extreme of liver failure. The reason is that phosphatidylcholine synthesis is necessary for low-density lipoprotein secretion.
So what we’re really trying to say is… proper dosages of choline can support healthy liver function and prevent problematic liver disorders in the future.
IMPROVE SPORT PERFORMANCE
Imagine if there was something you could drink or eat right before a marathon to knock minutes off your performance time… well, according to some scientists, the answer is choline.
The reason behind this is that again, choline is an essential part of our bodies production of acetylcholine. Remember, acetylcholine transmits the signal from nerve to nerve. It also transmits the signal to the muscle causing it to contract.
Without acetylcholine powering nerve impulses, your leg muscles could not “be told” to perform the action of running in your race. Thinking broader, without acetylcholine, your legs would never find their way to the starting line.
When we consider sport performance, we’re not just talking about running a marathon. There’s more components to athletic performance than just coordinated muscle firing.
Our body’s athletic ability relies heavily on mental energy, focus and concentration. These are imperative for improving one’s physical abilities and athletic performance.
Choline can also improve brain processing of on field information by reducing the time needed for seeing and understanding what is happening and decreasing the reaction time. Athletes call this read and react. It is critical for elite athletes.
We all know that it is important to rest and maintain proper sleep cycles for the proper growth of our body’s physical performance. Choline is shown to improve your energy levels, act as a catalyst for ensuring proper sleep cycles, and aiding in recovery after enduring strenuous activity. Considering it’s role in function of muscle nerves, choline may assist in prevention of muscle fatigue and aches and improve your quality of workouts.
Next time you step into the gym, consider this… Choline is utilized every single time you move a muscle. See the importance were talking about?
LOWERS ACUTE PAIN
Acute pain is… well, it’s a pain!
If it didn’t seem like there were already enough benefits from this micronutrient, think again!
Choline activates specific receptors in our brains and our spine that reduces inflammation. Reduction of inflammation is incredibly important for helping reduce acute and chronic pain. It is known in the medical profession that nearly every pain syndrome is caused by inflammation and the inflammatory responses.
Experiments show that people with high dietary amount of Choline are less likely to have inflammation. Certain dosages have shown to inhibit hypersensitivity and nociception, which is the nervous system’s response to pain.
When we ingest it in the form of foods or choline-rich supplements, most of the micronutrient is converted into betaine in our liver. Betaine is an incredibly important compound for our bodies to reduce inflammation.
Choline is noted to benefit reducing pain even more so when working synergistically with B12 and folic acid. So whether you are someone who suffers from chronic or acute pain, or simply someone who likes to stay ahead of the game… choline can be the missing ingredient your body needs.
BENEFITS DURING PREGNANCY
Is choline dangerous or should be avoided during pregnancy? Quite the opposite!
Pregnant women are at the peak for means of needing choline in their everyday diet. The nutrient is imperative for fetuses to properly develop. It aids in the proper growth of their brains, cell structures, and neural connections.
Studies have provided evidence that fetuses receiving the proper amount of choline have later shown to improve cognitive abilities with decreased chances of brain abnormalities. In retrospect, studies have shown that fetuses receiving lower levels of choline have correlated to higher risk of neural tube defects, and ultimately, problems with bodily development.
This takes us back to the building blocks of DNA and methylation. During pregnancy, a fetus is rapidly developing and requires the proper nutrients to do so. Choline is one of them – a very important one to say the least. It comes to no surprise that choline is naturally found in breast milk.
During the development of a child, their growth requires the intake of folate and vitamin B.
Choline works synergistically with these nutrients in maintaining proper levels of each.
Choline becomes a methyl donor when folate is low and acts as the back-up nutrient source to help ensure the quality and growth for bodily development and functions. These nutrients are just as important for the fetus as they are for children’s growth and development.
So we ponder the notion once more… choline can be used to prevent the problem before there is one.
Why Wait? Be proactive today.
So now you know a little bit more about the micronutrient, choline.
At Dioxyme, we vastly understand the importance of choline and have produced the perfect supplement for you, called E Energy & Focus. Not only does E provide the proper amounts of choline in your daily diet, it works synergistically with other ingredients to:
- Improve Athletic Performance
- Enhance Cognition and Attention
- Decrease Athletic Fatigue and Boost Endurance
- Sustain Energy with no Jitters or Crash
- Support Fat Loss
- Appetite Suppressant
- Stimulate Thermogenesis
So what’s stopping you? Hop on the train, introduce this supplement into your everyday diet, and turn your todays into better tomorrows!