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It was initially discovered in 1862, but choline was officially recognized as an essential nutrient for human health by the Institute of Medicine in 1998.
This nutrient has numerous roles, including:
- Nervous system health, as it is vital for the creation of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter involved in healthy muscle, heart and memory performance
- Healthy fetal development, since it is required for a healthy vision, brain development, and proper neural tube closure, and its deficiency increases the risk of premature birth, low birth weight, and preeclampsia
- Healthy mitochondrial function
- Helping DNA synthesis
- Cell messaging, as it produces cell-messaging compounds
- Fat transport and metabolism, as it is required for the transfer of cholesterol from the liver
- Methylation reactions
- The synthesis of phospholipids, the most common of which is lecithin, which constitutes 40-50 percent of the cellular membranes and 70 — 95 percent of the phospholipids in lipoproteins and bile
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