Choline is not only important for moms and moms-to-be. Research shows that choline may provide a host of other health benefits – from memory function to a reduced risk of certain diseases – for the entire population:
Research suggests that choline positively affects the areas of the brain responsible for memory function and life-long learning ability, especially in developing fetuses and newborn infants, making it an important nutrient for pregnant and breastfeeding women.
Choline may also help with brain and memory function in adults and is being studied for its potential role in preventing dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
Research shows that choline may help prevent age-related memory loss.
Research suggests that getting enough choline can lower concentrations of homocysteine, an amino acid in the blood, in the body while choline deficiency can result in increased levels of homocysteine. An increased level of homocysteine is a marker of tissue damage and a known risk factor for cardiovascular disease. This may help to explain why 30 years of research have shown that healthy adults can consume choline-rich eggs without increasing their risk of heart disease.
In addition, researchers studying the Mediterranean diet found that higher intakes of dietary choline were associated with a reduction in chronic inflammation. Chronic inflammation is recognized as a key player in the onset of heart disease.
A study published in 2008 and funded by the National Institutes of Health concluded that dietary choline is associated with a reduced risk of breast cancer. The study examined the diets of 3,000 women and found that the risk of developing breast cancer was 24 percent lower among women with the highest intake of choline compared to women with the lowest intake. Two previously published studies, also supported by National Institutes of Health grants, showed that women who eat choline-rich eggs have a lower risk of developing breast cancer. One study found that eating one egg per day was associated with an 18 percent reduced risk of breast cancer. The other found that women who reported eating at least six eggs per week had a 44 percent lower risk of developing breast cancer than those who ate two or fewer eggs per week.