Choline side effects, dosage 250 mg, 350 mg and 500 mg pill, should pregnant women use this product, are there any health concerns, deficiency?
What is the latest information as far as benefits and side effects?
November 22 2016
Choline is an essential nutrient required by the body to make several important compounds necessary for healthy cell membranes. It helps form phosphatidylcholine, the primary phospholipid of cell membranes. Choline is also the precursor to acetylcholine, one of the important brain chemicals involved in memory.
This nutrient, usually as part of phosphatidylcholine, is widely available in a number of foods, particularly eggs, fish, legumes, nuts, and meats and vegetables, as well as in human breast milk
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Choline is an essential precursor of acetylcholine, a stimulatory neurotransmitter. It also helps in the production of lipotropic agents which converts fats into useful products and aids in the production of HDL (good) cholesterol. Most supplements over the counter are sold in either 250 mg, 350 mg or 500 mg capsules.
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Daily intake in the American diet
Dietary intake of choline ranges from 300 to 900 mg a day. Most individuals who have a normal diet are not deficient in choline. Its importance was emphasized in 1998 when the National Academy of Sciences classified it as an essential nutrient. In the past, it was thought that the human body made adequate amounts when needed. However, a study by Dr. Steven Zeisel, from the Department of Nutrition at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, demonstrated that volunteers on a choline deficient diet were not able to produce enough of this nutrient.
Recommendations on daily intake
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends that men and women consume 550 milligrams and 425 milligrams, respectively, of choline each day to prevent liver dysfunction. Yet, nearly one in five individuals in may need much more choline — up to 800 milligrams a day — to prevent or reverse the damage caused by a deficiency of this nutrient.
Choline side effects, safety
A common side effect of choline ingestion is increased body temperature and sweating. Nausea and loss of appetite can result from very high doses. Most people notice having more focus and being more alert. A positive effect is that it helps with erections. Trimethylglycine has three methyl groups whereas choline has four methyl groups.
Q. Is sweating a side effect of choline supplement use?
A. Yes, sweating can occur on dosage greater than 300 mg of a choline bitartrate pill.
Weight loss supplement
A combination of hoodia, ginger, cinnamon, green tea extract, spirulina, acetylcarnitine, choline, guggul, 5htp, and several other herbs and nutrients, as found in Diet Rx, a very effective herbal diet pill for weight loss. Users of Diet Rx have lost several pounds within a week or two.
Several studies have been done in humans in order to evaluate memory function. The results have been mixed with some showing positive results (Sitaran 1978) while others indicating no improvement. Choline has also been tested in bipolar disorder, also known as manic-depression. When six patients already on lithium were given choline bitartrate, five of them had a substantial reduction in manic symptoms.
Choline supplement availability
Choline is sold in dosages ranging from 250 to 500 mg and in a number of forms including choline bitartrate, chloride, and citrate. Choline Bitartrate, 500 mg, Nature’s Way is a good brand, so is the brand from Physician Formulas.
Libido and sexual improving benefit
I understand that choline can help with sexual enhancement or erectile function, can it be taken along with tribulus terrestris extract herb?
There could be elevated body heat and sweating with the combination.
Choline and Pregnancy, should pregnant women take the supplement?
According to the results of several studies in rats, providing choline during pregnancy enhances memory and learning capacity in the fetus (Williams 1998). Dr. Christina Williams, a behavioral neuroscientist at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, says her study findings demonstrate, “That supplementation with choline during the last third of pregnancy has fairly dramatic and long-lasting effects on the memory of offspring.” A 1997 study published in Advances in Pediatrics by Dr. Zeisel showed that choline reserves are depleted during pregnancy and lactation. This depletion may affect normal brain development and memory in the offspring. The National Academy of Sciences suggests that pregnant women consume at least 450 milligrams of choline per day.
Am J Clin Nutr. 2013. Choline intake influences phosphatidylcholine DHA enrichment in nonpregnant women but not in pregnant women in the third trimester.
Recommendations and review
Individuals whose diet includes a wide variety of foods are not likely to suffer from choline deficiency. Growing infants, pregnant or lactating women, and individuals with liver cirrhosis may potentially be deficient. Whether choline supplements benefit older individuals with age related memory decline has not yet been adequately determined. Because of its relative safety, and potential benefits, I recommend small amounts of choline in the elderly who have age related cognitive decline. See chapter 18 for specific recommendations. Choline can be taken occasionally by younger individuals on days when better concentration and focus would be helpful.
Choline is derived not only from the diet but the liver has the ability to make it. It is used to make membrane phospholipids and to make acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter. Betaine, a metabolite of choline, is an important methyl group donor used in the remethylation of homocysteine to form methionine. When deprived of dietary choline and betaine, most adult men and postmenopausal women develop a deficiency syndrome characterized by signs of organ dysfunction (fatty liver as well as liver or muscle cell death).
Some men and women who consume the recommended daily amount may still develop an insufficiency and experience liver dysfunction as a result. Dr. Kerry-Ann da Costa, of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, believes some people may need more than the recommended amount for optimal health. The study included 57 healthy adults — 26 men, 16 premenopausal women and 15 postmenopausal women – who consumed a daily diet consisting of 550 milligrams of choline for the first 10 days. The subjects were then put on a diet for up to 42 days that contained less than 50 milligrams of choline, and were also randomly assigned to received folic acid supplements or no folic acid supplements. By the end of the study, 39 participants, including more than three quarters of the men and postmenopausal women, showed signs of liver dysfunction. Pre-menopausal women appeared to be less affected by the deprivation, however, with only 44 percent exhibiting liver dysfunction. Folic acid did not appear to influence the subjects’ susceptibility to choline deficiency. Dr. Steven H. Zeisel, also of UNC at Chapel Hill, explained that “evolution designed women” so choline levels wouldn’t get too low. Pre-menopausal women’s “ability to make it from scratch is turned on by estrogen,” he continued. However, men and post-menopausal women don’t have enough estrogen to do this. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, May 2007.
I don’t have a choline deficiency. Is there any danger in combining a choline supplement pills with banaba extract or the green food Barley-Grass?
A. Not if the dosages are kept low.
I have heard that taking choline can help some people with liver problems. My problem is my local DR’s and I have been unable to locate someone or some place that can conduct a blood test that will measure a serum choline level to identify if there is a deficiency. I have been told that one should find out if there is a deficiency before starting to take a choline supplement.
Choline deficiency is extremely rare and may occur in those who have malnutrition or are eating a very restrictive diet. Testing for choline in the blood is unlikely to reveal any information that would be clinically helpful. Anyone with suspected liver problems should have blood liver function tests and if abnormal, further studies can be done to determine the problem and course of action.
THE MEMORY NUTRIENTS
Choline and Phospholipids from the book Mind and Memory Boosters
What Benefits Do Choline and Phospholipids Provide?
Individuals who don’t have a good dietary intake of phospholipids may find that taking these nutrients leads to an improvement in learning and memory. Most young and healthy people who take phosphatidylcholine or phosphatidylserine are not likely to notice any significant changes, although supplements could help some seniors. The effects from choline, and its cousin CDP choline, are more noticeable.
Use by children
Q. There is a health drink which is being launched which claims to have 20% RDA as per US FDA and 20% of B vitamins and Iodine. I have read on your website that choline is good for the memory and can even enhance sexual function. Now do you think consumption of this drink will have such stimulating effect on children? and will they have sleep disturbances if they drink it during bed time?
A. Most supplements, unless they cause sedation, are best taken in the morning. It is difficult to predict the reaction in any one child, but if the dosage is very high it may have a stimulating nature but since most children are very active the effects may not be noticed. The best way to find out is to start with low dosages and see what effects occur.
I am aware that you cannot offer medical advice over the internet so, instead, I will ask if you know of any studies that have been performed with the use of choline and children? My son is three and is XYY. He is experiencing memory (and thus learning) difficulties, has low muscle tone issues, and is very thin. I’ve read a lot about acetylcholine and it seems my son’s body would greatly benefit from it since it is converted into acetylcholine.
We have not seen such studies yet, but if his doctor approves one could start with a small portion of a capsule.
Interactions with dietary supplements, amino acids
Are there serious risks involved with mixing choline and tyrosine? I’m currently taking tyrosine and from what I can tell, it doesn’t convert into acetylcholine. I suffer from low motivation and the tyrosine’s effects aren’t evident anymore. I’m also alternating supplementation of 5-htp and tryptophan to balance serotonin levels.
Much depends on your personal brain chemistry and the dosage and timing of the supplements.