Choline was long counted among the B vitamins as B4. Today, it is considered a semi-essential vitaminoid, since the body can cover part of the requirement through self-synthesis. However, it is not known by scientists if this self-synthesis is really sufficient.
Choline plays an important role in a number of bodily functions. In the fat metabolism of the liver, it supports its enzyme system and is an important component of bile secretion. Choline furthermore has an important transport function in fat metabolism: as a component of VLDL (Very Low Density Lipoproteins), it transports fat and cholesterol from the liver to other bodily tissues that need these compounds. Choline also plays a role as a methyl group donor. Just like betaine, vitamin-B12, folate and S-adenosylmethionine, it helps to regulate homocysteine levels.
Furthermore, choline is involved in production of various neurotransmitters (e.g. acetyl choline) and is one of the main components of cell membranes and myelin sheaths of nerve cells (e.g. phosphatidylcholine).
Health Benefits of Choline (According to EFSA)
- Choline contributes to normal homocysteine metabolism
- Choline contributes to normal lipid metabolism
- Choline contributes to maintenance of normal liver function