Choline is a part of the vitamin B complex. Technically, it is in its natural form ptomaine found in the bile and suprarenal (above the kidney) gland extract. It is essential for proper functioning of the liver. Although made in the body through synthesis, it is not made in sufficient amounts to meet the needs of most higher animals. It must therefore be supplied in food.
Chole is the Greek word for bile and this explains the use of the name choline. It meets the requirements for classification as a vitamin and is considered essential for growth and prevention of fatty livers.
In addition to participating in the transport and metabolism of fats, it plays a role in the normal functioning of nerves and is important in the metabolism process, especially in the synthesis of some proteins.
Choline also supports the actions of bile salts by reducing the surface tension of fat particles, making them easier to be emulsified. In addition, choline is needed to produce acetylcholine, an important neurotransmitter for memory, mood, muscle control, and other brain and nervous system functions.
The main dietary sources of choline in the United States consist primarily of animal-based products that are particularly rich in choline—meat, poultry, fish, dairy products, and eggs. Cruciferous vegetables and certain beans are also rich in choline, and other dietary sources of choline include nuts, seeds, and whole grains.
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