What is choline?
Choline is an amino acid found in egg yolks, nuts, fish, milk, liver, beef, tofu (soy), cauliflower, navy beans, almonds and peanut butter. I am sure you can find it elsewhere, but this is a good starter list.
Why is choline important for growing and maintaining a healthy brain?
It appears that choline can not only make you smarter, it can help prevent memory decline as we age. Who doesn’t want that? Researchers have found in animal studies that if rats are given choline during pregnancy, their babies are smarter and have much greater memory capacity than others. Choline appears to actually grow the brain in terms of memory and intelligence.
How does this occur?
It seems that choline helps develop faster, healthier and more rapid communication from neuron to neuron. Not only does this help brains think faster and learn more quickly, but the memory and ability doesn’t seem to diminish with age.
Now, the above research was done on rats that had received extra choline in the womb, and so their brains were developed that way from the get go. What does that mean for those of us who want improvement now? Well, research is still ongoing, and some studies have shown that supplementation helps, some have not, so there doesn’t seem to be a clear verdict at this point. However, several studies have shown that choline supplementation does improve memory. One study looked at students who were taking a choline supplement and then doing memory tests and the choline did seem to help – especially in people who were considered “slow learners”. Another study working with older adults found that after taking choline supplements for a set period of time, these adults had about half as many memory lapses as those who weren’t supplementing.
Given these studies, and the possibility that including choline rich foods in my diet could help me hold on to memories I hold dear, I would definitely focus on the positive with this seemingly amazing nutrient. I think I might go eat some eggs.