Choline challenge



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    When deprived of dietary choline, 77% of men and 80% of postmenopausal women developed fatty liver or muscle damage, whereas only 44% of premenopausal women developed such signs of organ dysfunction. Moreover, 6 men developed these signs while consuming 550 mg choline ..., the AI for choline. Folic acid supplementation did not alter the subjects’ response.

    Subject characteristics (eg, menopausal status) modulated the dietary requirement for choline, and a daily intake at the current AI was not sufficient to prevent organ dysfunction in 19 of the subjects." out of Fifty-seven adult subjects (26 men, 16 premenopausal women, 15 postmenopausal women)

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    Thanks for sharing! It will be interesting to see if an RDA can established for choline in the next few years.

    Kind regards,

    Susan Macfarlane, MScA, RD
    Registered Dietitian Nutritionist
    As always, any and all postings here are covered by our T&Cs:

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    From my reading and experience so far it seems the wiser approach might be personal DNA testing, and doubling (at least) the current recommendations for anyone with a fairly common PEMT polymorphism, especially post menopausal women.

    This is available to us now, no waiting required, and might prevent permanent damage to those with the greater need.

    This would enable VERY careful dietary choices for anyone finding they fall into the higher need categories, and hopefully put an end to naive reassurances...

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    Apparently there are other known polymorphisms in other SNPs besides PEMT, I would not want to mislead anyone,

    "Given the body of research linking dietary choline (methyl) deficiency to increased mutation rates, strand breaks and liver cancer, it is plausible that SNPs that increase human dietary requirements for choline (in PEMT, CHDH, BHMT or MTHFD1) will alter the risk of cancer. " found at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3319504/

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    I started taking a 401mg choline supplement once a day figuring that I was probably getting more than was shown in my diary. I was concerned because meats are a good source and in getting my weight and blood pressure down by diet I don't eat much meat. Even though I'm not vegan I'm not about to eat beef brains when I can take a capsule.

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    Eggs are said to be the best source of choline.

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    edited July 2019

    Here is some further/new information from one of my DNA tests, to further quantify what some of us need, in my case TWICE the normal recommendation for choline (up to half may be consumed as betaine) (which I was already not meeting on my "excellent vegan diet") meaning I would need to consume 8 servings of the foods listed below. I am awaiting liver & gallbladder ultrasound results now.

    Credit to Chris Masterjohn PhD:

    "According to my calculations you should eat the amount of choline available per day in 8 egg yolks or equivalents (see below).

    **Your genetics also suggest that failing to meet your choline requirement is extremely likely to hurt the health of your liver and gallbladder, and to hurt your ability to digest and absorb fat.
    Alternatives to Egg Yolks
    In the lists below, you can find examples of foods that provide either large amounts of choline or its partial substitute, betaine.

    The foods below provide the choline equivalent of about one egg yolk.

    Weights for meats are before cooking, while nuts, seeds, and flours are measured after drying or roasting.

    I recommend limiting liver to an average of 30 grams per day or 200 grams per week to avoid getting too much copper and vitamin A.

    1 tablespoons of lecithin
    40 grams of beef liver
    44 grams of veal liver
    62 grams of turkey liver
    71 grams of chicken liver
    143 grams of salmon
    135 to 285 grams of most meat, fish, or shellfish
    172 grams of flax seeds
    185 grams of pistachios, quinoa, amaranth, or pinto beans
    215 grams of pumpkin or squash seeds, or cashews
    250 grams of pine nuts, edamame, buckwheat, sunflower seeds, peanuts, or almonds

    The following foods primarily provide betaine, which is closely related to choline and can partially substitute for it. Each of these provides roughly the equivalent of one egg yolk as betaine, and you can use these foods for half of your egg yolk equivalents:
    24 grams of quinoa
    25 grams of wheat germ
    37 grams of wheat bran
    44 grams of raw lambsquarters
    57 grams of canned beets
    83 grams of dark rye flour
    105 grams of frozen spinach
    112 grams of raw beets
    140 grams of whole wheat flour
    143 grams of raw kamut

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    Does anyone else think lecithin soy granules are the best way to get most of Choline ?

    12 grams = 1.5 tablespoons = 400 mg of Choline.

    Sounds like a deal to me. I haven't found something more concentrated than this.

    We already have in Cronometer a product called "Bob's Red Mill, Lecithin, Soy Granules".

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    How do we diagnose a lack of choline in our diet?

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    Tracking choline is very tricky as it's not a commonly labeled nutrient, so your dietary recall will reflect less choline than you are actually consuming. Below is a link to foods rich in choline, if you're consuming them regularly, it's safe to assume you have adequate choline intake.

    Also, just a note that we don't really know how much choline people need in their diet at this point. Recommendations are an "AI", which equates to a well-educated guess .


    Susan Macfarlane, MScA, RD
    Registered Dietitian Nutritionist
    As always, any and all postings here are covered by our T&Cs:

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    Thanks :-)

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    edited August 2023

    1) Cronometer needs to set the AI to more internationally-recognized standards for choline (and calcium, etc.) rather than the american levels that default to mimimicking the unhealthy american meat/dairy diet. I custom set mine to 400 per other countries' level.
    2) Choline is one reason the american meat diet results in disease and short life span, so we don't want to have a large quantity of choline (plenty of nutritionfacts.org videos on this).
    3) By eating navy beans, cauliflower, brocolli, flax seeds, etc. I can meet the internationally-recognized choline level of 400.

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