Choline as a "smart drug" dietary supplement - Wikipedia

Choline supplements are often taken as a form of 'smart drug' or nootropic, due to the role the neurotransmitter acetylcholine plays in various cognition systems within the brain.  Choline is the precursor molecule for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which is involved in many functions including memory and muscle control.

Choline is a chemical precursor or "building block" needed to produce acetylcholine, and research suggests that memory, intelligence, and mood are mediated at least in part by acetylcholine metabolism in the brain.[citation needed] In a study on rats, a correlation was shown between choline intake during pregnancy and mental task performance of the offspring.

The compound's polar groups, the quaternary amine and hydroxyl, render it lipid-insoluble, which might suggest it would be unable to cross the blood–brain barrier. However, a choline transporter that allows transport of choline across the blood–brain barrier exists.[46] The efficacy of these supplements in enhancing cognitive abilities is a topic of continuing debate.

The US Food and Drug Administration requires that infant formula not made from cow's milk be supplemented with choline.[47]

Due to its role in lipid metabolism, choline has also found its way into nutritional supplements that claim to reduce body fat, but little or no evidence proves it has any effect on reducing excess body fat, or that taking high amounts of choline will increase the rate at which fat is metabolised.[citation needed]

Pharmaceutical uses

Choline is used in the treatment of liver disorders,[48][49] Alzheimer's disease,[50] and bipolar disorder.[51]

Some studies show that as a supplement, choline is also used in treating hepatitis, glaucoma,[52] atherosclerosis, and, possibly, neurological disorders.[2]

Choline has also been proven to have a positive effect on those suffering from alcoholism.[53][54]
The current NIH-funded research study COBRIT is gathering data regarding potential benefit of long-term citicoline treatment for recovery after traumatic brain injury.

Groups at risk for choline deficiency

Vegetarians, vegans, endurance athletes, and people who drink a lot of alcohol may be at risk for choline deficiency and may benefit from choline supplements.[citation needed] Studies on a number of different populations have found that the average intake of choline was below the adequate intake.[2][15]
The choline researcher Dr. Steven Zeisel wrote: "A recent analysis of data from NHANES 2003–2004 revealed that for [American] older children, men, women and pregnant women, mean choline intakes are far below the AI. Ten percent or fewer had usual choline intakes at or above the AI."[2]

Food sources of choline

The adequate intake (AI) of choline is 425 milligrams per day for adult women, and higher for pregnant and breastfeeding women. The AI for adult men is 550 mg/day. There are also AIs for children and teens.[16]
Animal and plant foods Choline (mg) Calories
5 ounces (142 g) raw beef liver 473  192 [nb 1]
Large hardboiled egg 113  78 [nb 2]
Half a pound (227 g) cod fish 190  238 [nb 3]
Half a pound of chicken 150  543 [nb 4]
Quart of milk, 1% fat 173  410 [nb 5]
30 gram Brewer's yeast (2 tbsps) 120 116[17]
32 gram sunflower lecithin 544 250[18]
15 gram soy lecithin granules 450 120[19][20]
100 grams of Soybeans dry 116  268[21][22]
A pound (454 grams) of cauliflower 177  104 [nb 6]
A pound of spinach 113  154 [nb 7]
A cup of wheat germ 202  432 [nb 8]
Two cups (0.47 liters) firm tofu 142  353 [nb 9]
Two cups of cooked kidney beans 108  450 . [nb 10]
A cup of uncooked quinoa 119  626 . [nb 11]
A cup of uncooked amaranth 135  716 [nb 12]
A grapefruit 19  103 [nb 13]
Three cups (710 cc) cooked brown rice 54  649 [nb 14]
A cup (146 g) of peanuts 77  828 [nb 15]
A cup (143 g) of almonds 74  822 [nb 16]
Besides cauliflower, other cruciferous vegetables may also be good sources of choline.[23]
Sinapine is an quaternary ammonium alkaloid found in black mustard seeds. It is a choline ester of sinapic acid.[24]
Choline and other nutrient values for many foods can be obtained online.[a 1]

Necessary choline for humans

Here are the daily Adequate Intake Levels and Upper Limits for choline in milligrams, taken from a report published in 2000 by the American Institute of Medicine. [2]