By: Amanda Miller MS, RN Clinical Integrative Nutrition Nurse Consultant
When thinking of essential nutrients for Men’s health, you would likely skip over this one – yet it is required for several important processes within the body, carried out hundreds of times every day.
I am talking about Choline, an essential micronutrient used in the process of methylation, used for nerve signaling, detoxification, and to create DNA.
Snapshot of Choline’s roles in the body:
- Cellular health: builds phospholipids that give structure to cell membranes
- Brain and nerve health: builds acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter essential forcognition, movement, and other vital functions
- DNA production: along with folate and vitamin B12
- Signaling: builds molecules that act as cell messengers
- Heart health: helps to remove homocysteine, which raises the risk of heart disease
- Healthy Liver Function: helps to transport fat from the liver to cells in the body
- Muscle Function: used in muscle nerve functioning and may be useful in preventingfatigue and muscle aches or pains following exercise
- Supports a Healthy Pregnancy: choline is rapidly used during brain, nerve channel,and cell structure formation
- Important for Children’s Growth & Development: needed to form neurotransmitterchannels in their brain that will help with information retention, verbal abilities, creative thinking, mathematical skills, social cues, and brain development.
Although choline is naturally occuring in some amounts in the body, it is still essential to get diet sources of choline so the body does not become deficient. Alcohol drinkers, post menopausal women, and pregnant women are more likely to be deficient.
Signs and symptoms of choline deficiency include:
- Low energy/fatigue
- Memory loss/cognitive decline
- Learning disabilities
- Muscle aches
- Nerve damage
Mood changes or instability and disordersMost Americans do tend to lack sources of choline in their diet. So be sure to eat plenty of the following:
- Brussel sprouts
- Split peas
- Navy beans
- Goat milk
- Organic fermented soy products (tempeh. Miso, Natto)Some people, especially those with genetic abnormalities put them at higher risk for deficiency, such as those with MTHFR mutations. Talk to your Integrative practitioner to see if you would benefit from choline supplementation
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22071706 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7946521 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1452945https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/6754453 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11023003 https://www.berkeleywellness.com/supplements/vitamins/article/should-you-boost-your-choline https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8709678 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22071706 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11023003