Choline is considered one of the B-complex vitamins. It functions with inositol as a basic constituent of lecithin. It is present in the body of all living cells and is widely distributed in animal and plant tissues. The richest source of choline is lecithin, but other rich dietary sources include egg yolk, liver, brewer's yeast, and wheat germ.
Choline appears to be associated primarily with the utilization of fats and cholesterol in the body. It prevents fats from accumulating in the liver and facilitates the movement of fats into the cells. Choline combines with fatty acids and phosphoric acid within the liver to form lecithin. It is essential for the health of the liver and kidneys.
Choline is also essential for the health of the myelin sheaths of the nerves; the myelin sheaths are the principal component of the nerve fibers. It plays an important role in the transmission of the nerve impulses. It also helps to regulate and improve liver and gallbladder functioning and aids in the prevention of gallstones.
Choline is synthesized by the interaction of B12 and folic acid with the amino acid methionine.
Daily requirements for choline are not known. The average diet has been estimated to contain 500 to 900 milligrams of choline per day, according to the 1968 revision of the Recommended Dietary Allowances. Dr. Paavo Airola has estimated the daily dietary intake to be 1000 or more milligrams. Usual therapeutic daily doses range from 500 to 6000 milligrams; prolonged ingestion of massive doses of isolated choline may induce a deficiency of vitamin B6..It is important to remember that the B-complex vitamins function better when all are taken together.
Deficiency Effects and Symptoms
A choline deficiency is associated with fatty deposits in the liver, resulting in bleeding stomach ulcers, heart trouble, and blocking of the tubes of the kidneys. Insufficient supplies of choline may cause hemorrhaging of the kidneys. A deficiency can also result when too little protein is in the diet. Prolonged deficiencies may cause high blood pressure, cirrhosis and fatty degeneration of the liver, atherosclerosis, and hardening of the arteries.
Beneficial Effect on Ailments
Choline has been successful in reducing high blood pressure because it strengthens weak capillary walls. Symptoms such as heart palpitation, dizziness, headaches, ear noises, and constipation have been relieved or removed entirely within 5 to 10 days after administration of choline treatments. Insomnia, visual disturbances, and blood flow to the eyes have also benefited from choline therapy.
Because choline is a fat and cholesterol dissolver, it is used to treat atherosclerosis and hardening of the arteries. It can be used to treat fatty livers, liver damage, cirrhosis of the liver, and hepatitis. Choline is also used in kidney damage, hemorrhaging of the kidneys, and nephritis, as well as for eye conditions such as glaucoma.