Choline is a micronutrient present in the form of phosphatidylcholine, a compound that makes up the structural component of fat.
Choline is found in many different types of foods that naturally contain certain fats, such as eggs and peanuts.
Choline helps the body to absorb fat, which then allows the body to use these fats to create cell membranes and structures.
A lack of choline in the body means cells cannot keep their shape or structure properly, which may affect their ability to send messages to other parts of the body.
Choline also plays an important part in gene expression because it is needed to create DNA responsible for proper development of the body.
Choline works alongside folate in various methyl group processes, allowing the body to form genetic material that helps build various organs and body systems.
Choline is vital to the many pathways involved in healthy nerve functioning, such as nerve signaling and maintaining the membranes of brain cells.
Choline also helps build the tissues within the nervous system required for brain development and growth.
Some research suggests that choline can support the structural integrity of nerves, improve their signaling capacity and also and protect vital neuronal membranes (1).
Choline also acts as a precursor to certain important neurotransmitters such as acetylcholine, which is needed for healthy nerve and muscle function.
Choline is particularly important in the proper transportation of fat from the liver to cells throughout the body.
One of the major benefits of choline is its ability to cleanse the liver. It does this by preventing the buildup of fat in the liver, which can lead to serious conditions such as non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
Choline also helps to transport both cholesterol and triglycerides, two fats that need to be sent away from the liver to other parts of the body where they can support other organs.
Aside from its benefits to the body, choline is also vital to cognitive function and memory.
Because choline is an important component of cell membranes and neurotransmitters used for nerve signaling, it functions as important part of memory preservation.
This has implications for the prevention of age-related cognitive decline and dementia, particularly in older people. Our brains become less elastic as we age, which is where choline provides a powerful means of maintaining brain elasticity. It works to maintain levels of acetylcholine, which naturally declines as we get older.
Choline helps to boosts both physical and mental energy, thanks to the way in which it supports the metabolism and neurotransmitter function in the brain. This allows the brain to produce faster reaction times and reduce the amount of time needed for mental processing, thus enhancing focus and concentration.
In addition, choline is thought to improve overall energy levels, mood, sleep cycles and recovery time after physical exercise. Because it is required for healthy muscle nerve functioning, it may be helpful in preventing fatigue and muscle aches or pains following exercise.