What is Choline?

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What is Choline? Blog Image

Overview:

Researchers recently discovered that an essential nutrient called choline is transported into the brain by a protein called FLVCR2.

About Choline:

  • It is an essential nutrient that supports various bodily functions, including cellular growth and metabolism.
  • It exists as both water-soluble and fat-soluble molecules. The body transports and absorbs choline differently depending on its form.
  • The body can also produce small amounts of choline on its own in the liver, but not enough to meet daily needs. As a result, humans must obtain some choline from the diet. 
  • The richest dietary sources of choline are meat, fish, dairy, and eggs. Many fruits, vegetables, and whole grains contain choline as well.
  • Functions:
    • Cell structure: It is a constituent of an important class of lipids (fats) called phospholipids (e.g., lecithin), which form structural elements of cell membranes. Therefore, all plant and animal cells need choline to preserve their structural integrity.
    • It serves as a source of the methyl groups (―CH3 groups), which are required in various metabolic processes.
    • Liver Health: Choline is also required to clear cholesterol from your liver. Deficiencies cause fat and cholesterol accumulation in your liver, which puts you at risk for nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.
    • A healthy nervous system: This nutrient is required to make acetylcholine, an important neurotransmitter. It’s involved in memory, muscle movement, regulating the heartbeat, and other basic functions.
    • Choline also plays important roles in modulating gene expression, cell membrane signaling, lipid transport and metabolism, and early brain development.
    • It is also “food” for beneficial gut bacteria.

Choline deficiency can lead to health conditions, such as cardiovascular disease and muscular damage.


Q1: What are neurotransmitters?

Neurotransmitters are chemical messengers that your body can’t function without. Their job is to carry chemical signals (“messages”) from one neuron (nerve cell) to the next target cell. The next target cell can be another nerve cell, a muscle cell or a gland.

Source: UQ research finds molecular doorways to help deliver drugs into the brain