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- Helping to maintain the structure of the cell membrane
- Aiding in the transmission of nerve impulses
- Playing a role in the conversion of homocysteine to methionine—elevated levels of homocysteine have been associated with a higher risk of cardiovascular disease
- Helping to transport fat and cholesterol out of the liver
|0-6 months||125 mg||125 mg|
|7-12 months||150 mg||150 mg|
|1-3 years||200 mg||200 mg|
|4-8 years||250 mg||250 mg|
|9-13 years||375 mg||375 mg|
|14-18 years||400 mg||550 mg|
|19 and older||425 mg||550 mg|
|Pregnant, all ages||450 mg||n/a|
|Lactating, all ages||550 mg||n/a|
- Fatty accumulation in the liver, called "fatty" liver
- Liver damage
|1-3 years||1000 mg||1000 mg|
|4-8 years||1000 mg||1000 mg|
|9-13 years||2000 mg||2000 mg|
|14-18 years||3000 mg||3000 mg|
|19 and older||3500 mg||3500 mg|
- Fishy body odor
- Increased salivation
- Increased sweating
Major Food Sources
- Beef liver
- Wheat germ
- Atlantic cod
- Brussels sprouts
- Peanut butter
- Milk chocolate
- Strict vegetarians—A choline deficiency may result if you do not eat animal products, including milk or eggs.
- Endurance athletes—Studies have shown that some choline may be lost during intense training.
Tips for Increasing Your Choline Intake
- At breakfast, spread a little peanut butter on your bagel or toast in place of butter or cream cheese.
- Hard boil an egg and grate it onto a salad at lunchtime.
- For dinner, drink a glass of milk instead of soda.
- Try sprinkling granular lecithin on top of your cereal, oatmeal, salad, or stir-fry. Just a few teaspoons is all you need.
- If you are taking a multivitamin/mineral supplement, make sure that it contains choline or lecithin.
Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics http://www.eatright.org
American Society for Nutrition http://www.nutrition.org
Dietitians of Canada http://www.dietitians.ca
Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca
Choline. Complementary Therapies. March 2002.
Dietary Reference Intakes for Folate, Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Vitamin B12, Panthothenic Acid, Biotin, and Choline. Institute of Medicine and National Academy of Sciences USA. Washington DC: National Academy Press; 1998.
Dietary reference intakes: vitamins. Institute of Medicine website. Available at: http://www.iom.edu/Global/News%20Announcements/~/media/474B28C39EA34C43A60A6D42CCE07427.ashx. Accessed October 7, 2014.
Lecithin for dementia and cognitive impairment. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 2000.
Micronutrient Information Center: choline. Oregon State University, The Linus Pauling Institute website. Available at: http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/infocenter/othernuts/choline/. Updated August 18, 2009. Accessed October 7, 2014.
Ralf J, Purpura M, et al. Phospholipids and sports performance. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2007;4:5.
Zeisel SH. Choline: Needed for Normal Development of Memory. Journal of the American College of Nutrition. 2000;19(5suppl):528S-531S.
- Reviewer: Michael Woods, MD
- Review Date: 09/2014
- Update Date: 10/07/2014