What is Choline and why do you need it?

This article was written as a response to a question asked on our online forum, by Sujata Shukla

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Choline is an essential nutrient that is manufactured by the liver in our bodies, can be derived from natural food sources and is available as a dietary  supplement too. The amount produced by our bodies isn’t enough for our needs and so it must be supplement through external means – diet or supplements. Choline is most easily obtained through foods of animal origin – both meats and dairy products. 

The Role of Choline

  • Production of a neurotransmitter that plays a role in the control of mood, memory and muscle control among other brain and nervous system functions
  • Early brain development
  • Cell membrane signalling
  • Lipid transport and metabolism
  • Modulation of gene expression

Choline Deficiency

A Choline deficiency can cause disorders in the liver and muscles, as well as the kidneys, pancreas, and the developing brain and nervous system. Specific disorders include

  • Development of non alcoholic fatty liver
  • Prolonged deficiency has been shown to cause liver cancer (in rodents)
  • Liver and muscle damage
  • Accumulation of fat in blood and liver
  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Kidney (issues with urine concentration)
  • Folate deficiency is likely (and it’s related issues)

Dietary Sources

Choline is found in a number of foods, with the highest concentrations available in foods of animal origin, including dairy, especially organ meats and egg yolks. These include:

  1. flax-seed
  2. oats
  3. butter
  4. liver
  5. cod
  6. cauliflower
  7. shrimp
  8. potatoes
  9. Brussels-sprouts
  10. broccoli
  11. salmon
  12. sesame-seeds
  13. lentils
  14. egg-yolk
  15. soybeans
  16. beef
  17. peanuts
  18. milk
  19. wheat-germ

Daily Dose

The recommendation for men is 550mg and for women, 425mg per day. Pregnancy, lactation, the consumption of methotrexate and Vitamin B-3 deficiency may cause an increased requirement of Choline. Choline is available as a supplement.


  • https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Choline-HealthProfessional/
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2518394/
  • https://www.livestrong.com/article/289946-choline-deficiency-disease/

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