Vegan Diets Risk Insufficient Choline – A Critical Nutrient

As plant-based and vegan diets increase in popularity across the world, so do the studies into areas of possible deficiencies for their followers. A recent study has highlighted the potential risk of choline deficiency as diets rich in animal products become fewer and fewer.

Choline is a water-soluble nutrient that is classified as neither a vitamin nor a mineral, but is often grouped with the B-complex family. Until recently it was incorrectly thought that we could produce enough choline endogenously to meet our daily needs.

Choline Availability

Luckily choline is contained in a wide variety of food groups, with eggs, chicken, salmon and Brussels sprouts all containing good levels of choline.

Deficiency can cause a host of health issues including reduction in metabolism and transport of lipids from the liver, muscle damage, methylation and down regulation of neurotransmitters.

Methylation is an extremely important function in our body, from correct and efficient signalling between cells and genes to improved detoxification and cardiovascular health.

GE Health Top Tips:

• Obtain your choline from a variety of food sources. See list below.
• Try and mix your choline foods with foods high in Folate, B6 and B12.
• Adult males should aim for 500mg of choline per day, with females aiming for 400mg of choline per day.

Top 5 Choline Foods:

• Eggs 1 medium 145mg
• Chicken 4oz 95mg
• Cod 4oz 90mg
• Brussel sprouts 1 cup 62mg
• Broccoli 1 cup 60mg

For methylation to function correctly, choline needs other key nutrients to aid in that process. For instance, folate and vitamins B6 and B12 are all crucial.

Top 5 Folate Foods:

• Lentils 1 cup 355µg
• Asparagus 1 cup 265µg
• Spinach 1 cup 260µg
• Broccoli 1 cup 165µg
• Beets 1 cup 135µg

Top 5 B6 Foods:

• Tuna 4oz 1.2mg
• Turkey 4oz 0.9mg
• Spinach 1 cup 0.5mg
• Cabbage 1 cup 0.4mg
• Bok choy 1 cup 0.3mg

Top 5 B12 Foods:

• Sardines 3oz 8µg
• Salmon 4oz 5µg
• Tuna 4oz 2.5µg
• Cod 4oz 2.5µg
• Scallops 4oz 2.4µg