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Choline (Phosphatidyl Choline)
Research and Studies

Natural Health: Choline is a precursor to the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, essential for memory and cognition. Also, it is a phospholipid that helps promote neuronal membrane fluidity, which is important for communication between brain cells. One form of this fat, phosphatidyl choline, is the active ingredient in lecithin--an emulsifier commonly found in processed foods, and derived from either soy or animal sources. In the brain, phosphatidyl choline also plays a role in repairing and maintaining neurons. According to Khalsa, most people ingest about 1,000 mg of lecithin every day as part of a normal diet, but that amount is not sufficient to promote optimal brain function throughout life.
Choline, in its various forms, is widely reputed to enhance cognition and memory not only in people with mild memory impairment, but in normal healthy people as well.
Many studies have been conducted on choline. In one early clinical study published in the journal Science in 1978, subjects demonstrated improved performance on intelligence and memory tests after ingesting choline.

Better Nutrition: Choline. Research in animals suggests that dietary intake of choline early in life can diminish the severity of memory deficits in aged animals. Within our cells, choline is translated into the neurotransmitter, acetylcholine, which is vital for efficient brain function and communication.(Cippoli, C. and Chiari, G. "Effects of L-Acetylcholine on Mental Deterioration of the Aged," Clinica Terapeutica 132L:429-510, March 31, 1990.)
Choline is made by the liver, but not in high enough quantities to satisfy all of our needs, so I advise supplementation. This is particularly important as we age.
Lecithin, a phospholipid found in such foods as soybeans, egg yolks, and liver, is an especially rich source of choline. Lecithin breaks down fat and is particularly important in coping with fatty deposits in blood vessels.
Mice fed lecithin or phosphatidylcholine in an Ohio State University study showed far better memory for solving the passages of a maze than did mice not given this supplement.
Viewed with high-powered instrumentation, their brains "looked" much younger than those of the controls and had more flexible cell membranes and fewer fatty deposits. Rigid, fat-clogged cell membranes are less able to take in oxygen and nutrients and to discharge carbon dioxide and wastes.

The importance of the nutrient choline was emphasized a few years ago when the National Academy of Sciences classified it as an “essential nutrient.” A study by Dr. Steven Zeisel (1991) from the Department of Nutrition of 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 to maintain health. This demonstrated that choline must be obtained from the diet. Choline is used in the synthesis of structural components of all human cell membranes and is a precursor of acetylcholine, an important neurotransmitter involved in muscle control, memory, and many other functions.
Choline and amino acids such as L-glutamine, acetyl-L-carnitine, and phenylalanine have been shown to yield benefits to brain function. It’s a testament to the investigative powers of science, and a boon to our bodies, that the precise nutritional compounds needed to maintain healthy memory and thinking have been illuminated.

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