One of the newest kids on the block to be classified as a vitamin is the incredibly important nutrient called choline, or vitamin B3. Choline is greatly needed for early life development, but is also needed for a number of metabolic functions throughout our lives.
While most people get enough choline in their diet, some might run low, particularly vegetarians, vegans or athletes in training. A few of the most obvious symptoms of choline deficiency include fatigue, insomnia, fatty liver and chronic inflammation (including inflammation of the heart).
In addition to boosting energy and improving sleep, choline is responsible for several other very important bodily functions, including:
- Boosting Brain Function: Choline has the ability to improve our memory and mood. This is because choline is needed for the production of an all-important neurotransmitter called acetylcholine, which is responsible creating our brain cells' myelin sheath - or the slick roadway that makes nerve impulses happen, allowing how we feel and think operate smoothly.
- Preventing Liver & Muscle Damage: A 2010 study published in the American Journal of Nutrition showed that 80% of postmenopausal women who were deprived of choline in their diet developed liver and muscle damage. (de Costa, et al. 2010)
- Detoxing the Liver: Choline has been used to aid in liver problems, including cirrhosis, by improving the way the liver emulsifies fat, better allowing the liver to decongest.
Some athletes in training have benefitted by supplementing with choline. If you’re an athlete (or hard core exercise enthusiast), or if you’re vegetarian or vegan, and suffering from fatigue or insomnia, take a look at your diet. Of course, any symptoms that don’t resolve should be attended to by a physician.
Foods that include choline:
- Eggs (yolks)
- Collard Greens
- Swiss Chard
- Organ Meats, like liver
Choline is water soluble and is easily destroyed by overcooking and over-processing. Frying your eggs until they’re brown, steaming your cauliflower until they’re mush and baking your chicken until it’s rubbery will greatly diminish the amount of choline, let alone all nutrients, within the foods you’re eating. Be good to your food and your food will be good to you!!
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