These days, food can be a fun activity instead of just a means of sustenance. People enjoy eating exciting new dishes with little regard to their health, but this can cause some detrimental effects. One of these is choline deficiency, a rare but serious disease that can affect the whole body. This article will tell you more about the treatments for choline deficiency.
What is Choline Deficiency?
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Choline is a type of vitamin that acts as a methyl donor and is involved in numerous physiological processes such as:
- Energy levels
- Liver function
- Muscle movement
- Nerve function
- Brain development
Choline is made by the body in very small amounts, which is why it’s essentially to consume supplementary foods. A deficiency can cause serious health issues, and there is a variety of treatments available on the internet.
Functions of Choline
It is important to have a sufficient amount of choline in the body, as it enables the following functions:
- Building up of sphingomyelin and (phosphatidylcholine) lecithin in the cell membranes
- Building up the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, the property needed for muscle contraction and the nervous system
- Building up Betaine
- Enabling the transport of cholesterol and fats from the liver to the cells via the blood
Causes, Signs and Symptoms of Choline Deficiency
A choline deficiency may cause muscle damage and abnormal fat deposition inside the liver. Because of this, it is often categorized as a non-alcoholic liver disease. Genetic predisposition and gender may also influence your risk of having a choline deficiency. Other health conditions which can lead to a choline deficiency include having a kidney transplant, bypass surgery and liver conditions.
The deficiency is often caused by a poor diet or an inability of the body to soak up nutrients from food. Folic acid, amino acid and vitamin B12 are all needed for the process of methylation.
The condition can affect the body in many ways, so be sure to look out for symptoms such as:
- Abnormal bone formation
- Cognitive decline
- High blood pressure (hypertension)
- Impaired growth in newborns
- Learning disabilities
- Low energy levels or fatigue
- Memory loss
- Mood changes or disorders
- Muscle aches
- Nerve damage
Treatments for Choline Deficiency
While there is no direct treatment for a choline deficiency, there are many indirect ways you can treat the symptoms. You can also prevent a deficiency by taking supplements or eating foods rich in choline.
Consuming foods rich in choline is one of the best ways to treat a choline deficiency. These include:
- Beef, pork and fish
- Brussel sprouts
- Organ meats, such as liver or heart
- Chicken breast
- Egg yolk
- Goat milk
- Peanut butter or peanuts
- Sesame seeds
- Seafood such as shrimp, oysters, crabs and clams
- Whole grain such as corn, barley, whole wheat and oats
The alternative way to treat a choline deficiency is by taking choline supplements. These can be prescription and non-prescription, but there are many now available in the market, including:
- Choline Chloride – a type of liquid supplement with hydrophilic properties.
- Choline Magnesium Trisalicylate – an NSAID (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug) which is basically used to treat rheumatoid arthritis.
- Lecithin (Phosphatidylcholine) – found in the soy and used as an additive to food
- Phosphatidylcholine and Choline Bitartrate – a type of powder or pill taken daily.
Many prefer to use liquid supplements, but practice caution, as side effects include diarrhea and nausea.