Believe it or not, summer is coming to an end. It is the back-to-school and, for a lot of people, back-to-work, time of year – a time requiring focus, concentration, and memory. Plenty of people struggle with those…and if you are one of those, it is time to pay attention to choline.
Choline? Many have never even heard of it before, let alone been aware they needed to pay attention to it.
So what is choline? Although not technically a vitamin by strict definition, it is an essential nutrient required for many functions of the body, especially for brain function. It is also involved in healthy liver function, nerve function, and muscle movement, as well as supporting energy levels and maintaining a healthy metabolism.
One of the primary functions of choline is helping brain cells in the production of acetylcholine, a key neurotransmitter for mental focus and learning. A choline deficiency can result in poor concentration, poor memory, mood changes and other cognitive impairments, especially as someone ages.
Additionally, choline plays an important role in maintaining the structural integrity of cell membranes and for cholinergic neurotransmission, which is responsible for memory, mental clarity, focus and concentration. Choline has been shown in research to be helpful in improving cognitive performance in a young, cognitively healthy, community-based population of 1,391 subjects.
Furthermore, choline is a major dietary source of methyl groups, which the brain needs for making the neurotransmitter epinephrine, the sleep hormone melatonin, and the myelin insulation of its nerve cells. Our neurons and all our other cells also require methyl to make and maintain their DNA, to manage their healthy gene activity (epigenetics), for growth and maintenance, regulation of potentially toxic homocysteine, and for numerous other life functions.
While our bodies are able to make a small amount of choline on their own, we must obtain the rest from food sources. Choline can be found in foods including egg yolks, liver, beef, salmon, cod, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts, and peanut butter. You may have heard eggs referred to as “brain food” because they are so rich in choline.
Research indicates that a large percentage of women, children, and older men are not receiving adequate choline in their diets. Choline is especially present in animal products, so vegetarians and vegans are more prone to experiencing a deficiency in choline.
Although eating a varied diet increases the likelihood that you are consuming enough choline, you may want to consider trying a supplement that contains choline – especially if you find yourself struggling with memory, focus, attention, or learning.
The nutritional ingredients in our BrainMD Health products are specifically designed for the health of the organ that controls everything we do, think and feel—the brain. Focus & Energy and Attention Support both contain Choline for improved focus. Read more about these two different products on the BrainMd Health website to better understand how they may benefit you.