Choline and our heart
The Little-Known Nutrient Found in Eggs
Egg yolks are rich in choline, an essential nutrient needed for normal functioning of all cells, including those involved with metabolism, brain and nerve function, memory, and the transportation of nutrients through the bloodstream.
Choline May Protect Your Heart
High levels of homocysteine in the blood indicate a risk factor for cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s disease, some cancer, and even death.
Choline is involved in the removal of homocysteine from the body by helping to convert it to a needed amino acid called methionine. A recent cohort study found that individuals with the highest choline intakes had the lowest blood levels of homocysteine.
Cho et al. Dietary choline and betaine assessed by food-frequency questionnaire in relation to plasma
total homocysteine concentration in the Framingham Offspring Study. Am J Clin Nutr 2006;83:905-11.
How Much Choline Do I Need?
Current recommendations suggest that adequate choline intake is 550 milligrams per day for men and lactating
women, 425 milligrams per day for women, and 450 milligrams per day for pregnant women.
Two eggs contain about 250 milligrams of choline, or roughly half the recommended daily supply. You can get about 550 milligrams of choline by eating a two-egg omelet, a serving of lean pork loin or a cup of cooked navy beans.
USDA and DHHS 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans
Choline Aids Brain Development
Reviews of research find that sufficient choline consumption during pregnancy is important to prevent birth defects.
It is an essential nutrient for brain function – both for proper brain development in fetuses and newborns, and possibly for memory function throughout life and into advanced age.
Zeisel SH. Choline:
Critical role during fetal development and dietary requirements in adults. Annu Rev
Zeisel SH. Nutritional importance of choline for brain development. J Am Col Nutr 2004;23:621S-626S.
Deficiencies in Choline May Lead to DNA, Immune System and Organ Damage
In a clinical study, healthy adults who developed a choline deficiency were found to have increased DNA damage (which is related to chronic diseases such as cancer, arthritis, and accelerated aging), increased death of immune cells called lymphocytes, and increased liver and muscle dysfunction.
da Costa KA et al. Choline deficiency increases lymphocyte apoptosis and DNA damage in humans. Am
J Clin Nutr 2006;84:88-94.
Where Do I Get Choline?
Choline-rich foods, such as egg yolks, are an important part of a healthy diet, especially during pregnancy.
Eggs are an affordable and readily available source of choline. Foods highest in choline are liver (of various animals, such as beef and chicken), egg yolk, wheat germ, pork loin, bacon and beans.
USDA Database for Choline Content of Common Foods, 2004