A chemical similar to the B-vitamins, choline is one of the lesser known vitamins. Especially important for its role in early development, choline is important throughout life for supporting brain and liver function and much more. While often “lumped” in with the B-vitamins, choline is not yet officially considered part of the family; however, it is important for treating a variety of conditions.
What is Choline?
Although not officially recognized as a vitamin belonging to the B-complex family, choline is recognized as a required nutrient that needs to be part of an everyday meal plan. Described as an essential water-soluble nutrient, choline is an organic compound necessary for life’s most essential functions, including basic cellular structure, nutrient transportation and metabolism.
While it was once thought that the human body could produce enough choline with adequate supplies of other nutrients, research now suggests the supplement must be derived from the diet. The nutrient can be found in a wide variety of common foods including eggs, fish, beef, pork, vegetable oil and chicken.
Health Benefits of Choline Citrate
While previously not considered a key nutrient, researchers now suggest that choline may be more important than previously thought. This nutrient plays a role in many of the metabolic processes and reactions in the body and is especially important in the nervous system. It possesses a variety of other purposes as well.
Produced by the liver, the nutrient is also important for treating diseases of the liver, such as hepatitis and cirrhosis. The compound also treats depression, memory loss, Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, Huntington’s chorea, Tourette syndrome, brain disorders, seizures and schizophrenia.
Choline has a variety of other purposes as well. Athletes rely on choline to enhance bodybuilding and delay fatigue during endurance sports. Pregnant women take choline to prevent deficiencies during pregnancy and after birth that may result in defects. The nutrient is also used for averting cancer, regulating blood pressure and cholesterol and controlling asthma.
From boosting brain function to treating asthma, choline is an essential nutrient with a variety of functions. While it was previously not considered a vitamin, choline has been reclassified in recent years and has since been identified as an essential nutrient.