The Silent Epidemic: Why Choline Deficiency Might Be Making You Sick

  • What is choline?
  • The choline deficiency epidemic
  • The health effects of choline deficiency
  • How to get enough choline
  • Supplements and diet changes
  • Key takeaways

Choline is an essential nutrient your body needs to function effectively and yet, this isn’t widely known. In this blog, we’ll explore what it is, why it is so important. Also how you can increase your choline intake for your overall health.

What is Choline?

Choline is an essential micronutrient that is needed for human health and a deficiency can make you sick. Found in all cells in the body, choline plays a critical role in a number of important bodily functions, such as fetal development, brain function, energy production, muscle control, and liver function. Choline is also an important component of cell membranes and plays an important role in metabolism. Choline can be found in a variety of foods, but the majority of it comes from meat and dairy products. Choline is also created in the body, but not enough to meet the body’s needs. Therefore, it is important to obtain enough choline through diet and/or supplements. 

Unfortunately, most people do not get enough choline, which can lead to a number of health problems. 

The Choline Deficiency Epidemic

It’s estimated that 90% of adults do not meet the recommended daily intake of choline. This is largely due to poor dietary habits, and not enough choline-rich foods that can be found in meat and dairy products. Additionally, certain medications and environmental toxins can also reduce the body’s ability to absorb and use choline. 

Other factors can also contribute to choline deficiency, such as stress and ageing. 

Since the body doesn’t produce enough choline on its own, maintaining adequate levels of choline intake is important for overall health. 

Choline is also important in fetal development as choline will be pulled from the mother’s blood to supply adequate amounts to the fetus. Pregnant and lactating women have higher choline needs, yet only 5% are getting enough, according to the study, Habitual Choline Intakes across the Childbearing Years: A Review that collected evidence on choline consumption in the preconceptual, pregnancy, and lactation life stages. 

The Health Effects of Choline Deficiency

The effects of choline deficiency can be far-reaching and can range in severity. Common symptoms of choline deficiency include fatigue, memory loss, muscle weakness, difficulty concentrating, and poor coordination. Additionally, choline deficiency can also cause choline-dependent disorders such as nonalcoholic fatty liver disease and atherosclerosis (a hardening of the arteries caused by a build up of plaque in the inner lining of an artery). A further study, ‘Food Components to Enhance Performance: An Evaluation of Potential Performance-Enhancing Food Components for Operational Rations details in chapter 19 specifically focusing on Choline: Human Requirements and Effects on Human Performance held in the National Library of medicine 

“Until recently, choline was considered a dispensable nutrient for humans…  the demand for choline is modified by the rate of growth of an individual and by complex interrelationships between choline and the nutrients methionine  (an essential amino acid found in meat, fish, and dairy products), folic acid, and vitamin B12.

However, it is known that human cells grown in culture have an absolute requirement for choline, and recent studies have established that choline is indeed an essential nutrient for normal humans when methionine is not available in excess of requirements.”

Steven H.Zeisel, Department of Nutrition, School of Public Health and School of Medicine, University of North Carolina

How to Get Enough Choline

Getting enough choline is essential for optimal health. The easiest way to get enough choline is through diet and lifestyle modifications.The highest amount of choline is found in animal products. Eating a balanced diet rich in choline-rich foods such as eggs, liver, beef, pork, fish, and dairy, is a great way to increase your choline intake. Plant-based sources of choline include nuts, seeds, and cruciferous vegetables (cruciferous because their four-petaled flowers look like a crucifer, or cross  Think edible cabbages). 

Additionally, reducing stress and alcohol consumption can also help to maintain adequate choline levels. 

Supplements and Diet Changes 

If dietary and lifestyle modifications are not enough to meet the body’s choline needs, there are supplements available to help increase choline intake. 

Eating choline-rich foods is the best way to get enough choline, but supplements can be beneficial for people who are deficient or at risk of deficiency. Choline supplements come in a variety of forms, including tablets, capsules, and powders. Additionally, some multivitamins also contain choline. 

Conclusion

Grassland Nutrition products can help with choline deficiency to balance a healthy choline intake.  We know in our modern diet the majority of us are deficient in many nutrients, not solely choline. Products that help increase choline levels include freeze dried beef liver powder, wholefood snacks and capsules, as well as other beef organ product lines. Find out more here 

Key Takeaways

  • Choline is an essential nutrient that plays an important role in important bodily functions, including fetal development, brain health, energy production, liver function, and muscle strength.
  • Choline is present in a variety of foods, yet most of us don’t get enough of it in our diet. 
  • Choline deficiency can lead to many health problems, such as fatigue, memory loss, muscle weakness, and difficulty with holding concentration. 
  • To ensure adequate choline intake, we must eat a balanced diet that is rich in choline-rich foods. 
  • Reducing stress and alcohol consumption can also help to maintain adequate levels. 
  • If dietary and lifestyle modifications are not enough, choline supplements can be beneficial.

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