Vitamin B4 is also known as choline. It is not really a vitamin at all, but a similar substance that belongs to the complex of B vitamins.
Choline performs important functions in the body by building cell membranes and is of great importance for liver health.
Several vitamin B4 products are commercially available as food supplements. To ensure that information is transmitted to the brain, the body needs choline, which is usually absorbed through food.
If this important messenger substance is missing, you become forgetful and cannot concentrate. The two components Alpha-GPC and Citicoline are indispensable for mental fitness since they increase the ability to concentrate.
The body can produce choline from methionine and folic acid.
What is vitamin B4?
Choline is one of the components of the vitamin B complex and was previously known as vitamin B4. The healthy nutrient is considered a semi-vitamin and is composed to a small extent by the body itself.
It occurs naturally when ingesting products such as cabbage, green leafy vegetables, and even peanut butter. Since food intake alone is not enough for many people to ensure an adequate supply of choline, different vitamin B4 preparations are offered.
It is involved in many processes in the body and fulfills numerous important functions. Therefore, an insufficient supply of the semi-vitamin can have negative consequences for your health.
Choline is very important to ensure the functioning of the brain. Vitamin B4 improves memory capacity and brain concentration and counteracts memory loss in the elderly. The vitamin can also reduce cholesterol deposits in the vessel walls.
What do you need vitamin B4 for?
The areas of application of vitamin B4 are versatile, choline has an extensive effect on different physical processes and also helps increase performance. In addition to a positive effect on the mental level, acetylcholine also has a high impact on the transmission of nerve stimuli to the various muscles.
This makes choline essential for the control of vital functions such as heartbeat, breathing, and blood pressure. Many competitive athletes use preparations with the active ingredient acetylcholine to help their brain store movement techniques and sequences. All storage processes in the bodywork best if you have a sufficiently high choline level in the blood.
Vitamin B4 is involved in many processes in the body. The substance supports fat transport, metabolism, and has a positive impact on cholesterol levels.
Choline participates in the production of a neurotransmitter that is important for memory function and also affects mood, heartbeat, and muscle movements. It also ensures that the liver functions properly.
After its intake through food or a dietary supplement, choline becomes acetylcholine in the body. Acetylcholine is an important neurotransmitter and serves as a transmitter of nerve signals for optimal control of different nerve processes and memory processes.
Therefore, choline can also influence your mood, feelings, and behavior. On a physical level, acetylcholine ensures the transmission of stimuli to the muscles. Adequate levels of choline in the blood are especially important for strength athletes.
Therefore, many bodybuilders use some vitamin B4 products to ensure an adequate supply. Choline interacts with many enzymes and hormones in the body. The auxiliary vitamin is also involved in the metabolism of creatine.
Choline makes a valuable contribution to healthy homocysteine metabolism. The body’s own degradation product, homocysteine, must be continuously removed from the body. This decomposition process is backed by folic acid, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, betaine, and choline.
A high homocysteine level is as harmful to health as an excessively high cholesterol level. Elevated blood lipid levels present a high risk of cardiovascular disease and arteriosclerosis. Choline is responsible for the transport of fatty acids (triglycerides) from the liver. When there is a lack of choline, the body stores excess fat in the liver.
In the long term, this creates an altered metabolic process. A fatty liver can no longer detoxify the body because liver functions are significantly restricted. A balanced level of choline helps maintain normal liver function and ensures a balanced fatty metabolism.
Doctors suspect that choline may also help reduce asthma attack symptoms.
Benefits and side effects of vitamin B4
Choline has a protective effect on the brain, heart, and liver. The semi-vitamin is generally not harmful if the dose taken does not exceed 6,000 milligrams per day. Ideally, the substance is taken together with other vitamins of the vitamin B complex, which at the same time increases the effect of choline.
Overdose can cause side effects such as vomiting, increased salivation, and increased sweating. The body accumulates protection against the development of heart disease through regular consumption of choline. Lack of choline facilitates the accumulation of homocysteine in the blood and increases the risk of stroke and heart disease.
The main effect of choline is the positive influence on memory and intelligence.
With the use of vitamin B4 products, you can improve your brain function and increase your memory and information processing in the brain. The average daily intake of 1,000 milligrams of choline is considered ideal to support short and long term memory and to reduce memory problems.
Even patients suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s often use choline products as a dietary supplement. An adequate supply of choline guarantees stable brain development of the embryo during pregnancy.
Choline can reduce anxiety in mental illnesses such as bipolar disorder. Constant consumption of choline improves symptoms during the manic phase. A deficiency of choline in the body can contribute to the development of liver diseases.
Most nutrients must be taken from food, since the body only produces the substance in a limited way.
Choline has been recognized internationally as an essential nutrient since 1998. However, most people do not get enough choline through their diet.
Vitamin B4 is not a mineral or a complete vitamin, but a water-soluble component that belongs to the group of vitamins B because it corresponds to its functions and properties. With an adequate supply of choline, you can significantly reduce the risk of various diseases.
A healthy diet includes foods high in nutrients, which also contain choline.
Where does choline occur?
The healthy nutrient choline is found in many foods. Choline levels are found in all-natural fats, as well as in animal foods. The best sources of vitamin B4 are the liver, fatty meats, eggs, and soy products.
The following foods are also excellent suppliers of choline:
Some foods contain a lot of choline, while others only have a small number of the nutrient. The main sources of choline with the highest levels of vitamin B4 are:
- 418 mg of choline = 100 grams of beef liver
- 292 mg of choline = 100 grams of cod
- 290 mg of choline = 100 grams of chicken liver
- 251 mg of choline = 2 eggs
- 152 mg of choline = 100 grams of wheat germ
- 125 mg of choline = 100 grams of bacon
- 116 mg of choline = 100 grams of dried soy
- 103 mg of choline = 100 grams of pork
- 25 mg of choline = 100 grams of pork
- 32 mg of choline = 100 grams of broccoli
How much vitamin B4 should you take daily?
The recommended daily amount differs individually. Your personal choline needs depend on your diet, your genes, your age and sex, and any deficiencies. The following guide contains average values for healthy people who do not suffer from deficiency symptoms.
Therefore, the daily intake of choline should be at the age of:
- 0 to 6 months: 125 mg
- 7 to 12 months: 150 mg
- 1 to 3 years: 200 mg
- 4 to 8 years: 250 mg
- 9 to 13 years: 375 mg
- 14 to 18 years, women: 400 mg
- 14 to 19 years old, men: 550 mg
- Adult women: 425 mg
- Adult males: 550 mg
- Nursing mothers: 550 mg
What are the consequences of a deficiency?
Scientists estimate that the daily requirement for choline is around 1,000 milligrams. Symptoms of deficiency can also occur with the regular use of a dietary supplement with choline.
This happens especially when you are on a diet to get rid of those extra pounds. By avoiding foods such as fatty meat and only eating small portions, it also reduces the amount of choline in your body. Although natural fats have many calories, they also contain valuable vitamin B4.
That is why you should not give up high-quality foods when losing weight. Alcohol consumption and consumption of sugary foods such as candy, cakes, cookies, and desserts have a negative impact on choline levels. Pregnant women and nursing mothers have a greater need for choline.
If you suffer from choline deficiency, you might realize it when there are memory and orientation disorders.
As a result of the inadequate supply of vitamin B4, there is also a decrease in leukocytes. These are involved in the production of white blood cells. If there is an insufficient supply of choline in the long term, this leads to high blood pressure, fatty liver, liver cirrhosis, arteriosclerosis, and hardening of the arteries.
A unilateral or unhealthy diet empties choline reserves because the body depends on a constant supply of choline from the diet. Although the body can produce small amounts of vitamin B4, this is not enough to cover its total requirement.
In addition, the body’s choline production decreases with age. You may also feel the consequences of a vitamin B4 deficiency in a reduced ability to concentrate.
The causes of difficulty concentrating are the poor transmission of stimuli within the brain. To ensure transmission through nerve cells, the brain needs enough choline, which acts as a messenger between different regions of the brain.
If the concentration of acetylcholine is too low, the structures containing choline in the brain are attacked. This process causes long-term damage to DNA. A deficiency of choline not only shows through restricted brain function but also appears in other places in the body.
If you eat too little choline with your food, kidney, liver, and pancreatic functions will be impaired. This can lead to growth disorders in babies and children. Choline deficit is also considered the cause of muscle damage. Your family doctor can determine an acute choline deficiency based on the increase in blood creatine kinase levels.
Some people have an increased risk of choline deficiency.
Risk groups affected by an insufficient supply of choline include athletes who practice endurance sports and people who drink alcohol regularly. Menopausal women need more choline than young women.
The hormone estrogen supports the body in the production of choline. During menopause, the estrogen level drops continuously. As a result, less choline is produced and must be supplied through food or through the use of a dietary supplement.
Choline is very important for the development of the fetus. Deficiency during pregnancy can lead to a delay in the physical and mental development of the baby. Insufficient supply of choline can also promote kidney damage, glaucoma, and arteriosclerosis.
If a balanced diet is not enough to correct the deficiency, you can use vitamin B4 products and dietary supplements with choline.
Choline also has a stimulating effect on the formation of antibodies in the body. Therefore, choline supplements can also be used well for inflammatory diseases and for defense against infections.
The auxiliary vitamin counteracts the deposit of fat in the liver and has a positive influence on the function of the liver and gallbladder. Choline can break down excess liver fat. A positive effect of vitamin B4 with respect to blood vessels can also be determined.
With a good supply of choline, you can increase brain memory and improve your learning ability. The micronutrient increases mental energy while reducing fatigue.
It is also said that vitamin B4 has positive properties for headaches and sleep disorders. Nutritionists recommend paying attention to foods with a high choline content when compiling your daily menu to meet your needs.
If the required level of choline is not reached through the diet, it makes sense to use dietary supplements.