clinical quickie: choline and memory
Posted by Andrea Nakayama
If your memory serves, I had the unfortunate experience of writing a Clinical Quickie a while back, only to have it blip away into electronic oblivion.
Luckily, my memory serves.
But this isn’t the case for many of my clients, especially those in menopause. They don’t remember where they parked the car, where they placed their keys or why they got up to walk into the kitchen by the time they get there.
In order for memory to serve, you ultimately have to serve the memory. And what memory wants for breakfast is a good dose of fat.
While I like to ensure that my clients understand the differences between their “good fats” and “bad fats” and use my Fat or Fiction course as a solid teaching tool for these principles, there’s one particular fat I want to talk about today.
It may not be the one you thought I was going to mention, but choline serves memory.
Choline is a critical part of each and every cell membrane in the body, particularly in the brain. It enables the cell’s surface to more willingly accept the good dietary fats into the interior complex of the cell.
Choline is like the cellular welcoming committee for good dietary fats.
There, within the inside of the cell, the good fats can serve not just memory, but also the health of the skin, the reduction of inflammation (and those rising CRP levels), and overall metabolism.
Choline is also the precursor to acetylcholine ~ a prominent neurotransmitter found in both the central and peripheral nervous systems. Acetylcholine is involved in muscle control, recollection, arousal and alertness.
Acetylcholine keeps you quick and sharp in more ways than one.
Choline alone is not a precursor to the production of acytelcholine. Estrogen and progesterone play a role too. That’s one reason why there are a number of functions that decline as we age, leaving us all feeling less keen than we (sort of) remember. As we mature and the levels of our sex hormones recede, so does the production of this brain chemical.
The result: memory lapses, weight gain and dry skin.
And, ultimately the need for more choline-rich foods.
Choline is just one of your vital and versed B vitamins.
Eggs are the very best source of choline you can find.
But what if, like me, you can’t eat eggs?
Look for good sources of choline other than eggs…
The richest source of choline is lecithin, which is most often added to foods as an emulsifier. Most of the lecithin we can find comes from soybeans. If you want to use lecithin, and you’re able to eat soy products, you can purchase non-GMO soy lecithin to add to smoothies.
In general, other ample sources of choline include:
- non-GMO soybeans (think edamame, tempeh, miso)
- and even beans have some
If you remember one thing from our quickie today, please remember that choline serves your memory well!
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