Choline is a precursor for the synthesis of phospholipids in our cells.When a cell is about to divide, it synthesizes these phospholipids to generate enough material to build the cell membranes of the two daughter cells.Some animals cannot produce choline, but must consume it through their diet to remain healthy. Whether dietary or supplemental choline is beneficial or harmful to humans has not been determined.Possible benefits include reducing the risk of neural tube defects and fatty liver disease.Recent studies have shown that choline deficiency may have adverse effects, even when sufficient amounts of methionine and folate are present.
Furthermore, because of the low choline uptake in healthy brain tissue, carbon-11 choline was found to be a superior PET tracer than fluorine-18 Fludeoxyglucose (FDG) when delineating brain tumors.
The USDA Nutrients Database has choline content for many foods.
The Australian, New Zealand, and European Union national nutrition bodies note there have been no reports of choline deficiency in the general population.
The cation appears in the head groups of phosphatidylcholine and sphingomyelin, two classes of phospholipid that are abundant in cell membranes.
Choline is the precursor molecule for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which is involved in many functions including memory and muscle control.
The USA joins these three in not publishing a Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA), due to lack of consensus evidence.