Skip to main content

THE VITAMIN EVERYONE'S TALKING ABOUT


Okay, that's not exactly true. Choline is not exactly a vitamin, and hardly anyone knows about it. But now that I have your attention...

Choline is an essential nutrient with a variety of important physiological functions. It is involved in cell signaling, nerve impulse transmission, and fat metabolism. Your body is able to synthesize small amounts of choline, but unless you take in enough in food, and few do, you run the risk of deficiency.

Signs and symptoms of not getting enough choline include nonspecific ones such as fatigue, insomnia, and the inability of the kidneys to concentrate urine. More serious consequences of choline deficiency include fatty liver, an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer, and Alzheimer's. Alzheimer's is a neurological disease affecting an increasing number of people worldwide, and it is characterized by a deficiency in the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. Acetylcholine covers a wide array of important functions. It is largely responsible for making your heart beat, and your muscles contract. Because it is involved in bodywide nerve transmission, this includes your brain, and acetylcholine is also involved in memory and cognition, which explains the dementia seen in Alzheimer's. As the name suggests, acetylcholine is derived from choline.

And now to the sources. Meat eaters will be quick to announce that the best sources of choline, far and away, are animal products. Foods like egg yolk, beef liver, and seafood contain large amounts of the essential nutrient. For example, one large egg provides 126 mg choline, which is roughly 25 percent of the daily requirement of roughly 500 mg/day.

But choosing to eat animal foods, and the cholesterol, saturated fat, and harmful residues they contain, seems like a less than perfect way of increasing intake of one, albeit important, nutrient. Better to take a supplement, such as lecithin. Best option, however, since choline works synergistically and interacts with other vitamins and minerals present in whole foods, is to emphasize plant sources.

Plant sources of choline include: Brussels sprouts and Broccoli (each have 60 mg/cup), collard greens, Swiss chard, and cauliflower. Firm tofu and peanuts are additional sources.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

SOUL CYCLE

This is not a commentary on the latest fitness fad. Because if it were, the little I'd have to say on the subject would be largely derogatory. I simply cannot see see how crouching in a stuffy, dark, cramped room surrounded by sweat-drenched strangers while expending a lot of energy and going nowhere deserves to be called fun, though aficionados tell me it is (fun). I tell these aficionados that if no pain no gain is your thing, discomfort can be had for a lot cheaper than $50 an hour. Try plucking your nose hairs. What we don't do for the sake of beauty. This endurance heir to the Stairmaster and elliptical is all hype. There's a name for the type who likes to run (or otherwise move) in place. It's called a hamster. 

This reminds me of a joke my father likes to tell, about what living with a woman turns a guy into. You go from a wolf to a sheep to a hamster. After nearly 40 years of married life, my dad has added cockroach to the zoological lineage. Which I'm sure …

EVERYTHING'S INTENTIONAL

There is no such thing as screw-ups.

Case in point. My excellent friend Deej comes over to help me beautify the garden. He immediately dives in, crouching down on his knees and weed whacking with his bare hands. Before I can say yay or nay, he proceeds to remove a huge clump of daisy greens from the oblong patch of Earth adjacent to the driveway. The area instantly looks bare. Like the back of Woody Allen's head. Smoothing out the soil and shaking his head Deej mutters to himself "I fucked it up!" over and over again. We try everything. Planting succulents in the daisy's place. Covering it with rocks. But still the area looks barren. And every time you water it the water trickles down onto the sidewalk in the absence of roots to hold it in place. It's getting dark so we go back inside. The next day I return to the spot with a clear perspective and remove all the other daisies, leaving only rose bushes and the succulents that DJ planted, and depositing 10 bags of m…

GRAY MATTERS

I was watching the TV show Naked and Afraid last night as I sometimes do. The show teams together two strangers, a man and a woman, who attempt to survive on their own for a period of 21 days in some remote and isolated region. Some of the locales featured include the Australian Outback, the Amazonian rainforest and the African Savanna. The man may have a military background, or be an adventurist or deep sea fisherman. Sometimes he's an ordinary dude who lives with mom. The woman is a park ranger or extreme fitness enthusiast or "just a mom" herself. Sometimes the couple quarrel, sometimes one or both "tap out" (quit) in a fit of anger or illness. It is satisfying to see them actually make it through the challenge and reach their extraction point. The victors are usually exhausted, emaciated, begrimed and bare ass naked. 

Even more satisfying, at least for me, is the occasional ass shot, snuck in at strategic intervals to boost viewership, of course. It's co…