Dr. Karen Corbin: Hello! I am Dr. Karen Corbin, a research scientist at the Florida Hospital Translational Research Institute for metabolism and diabetes. I am here today to talk to you about a nutrient called Choline.
Although our bodies can make choline most of us do not make enough to meet our health needs. This means that choline is an essential nutrient and we need to consume it in our diets.
Almost all of us are eating less than the recommended amount of choline. There are strong scientific evidence that choline supports the health of your liver. For example, choline can help prevent non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. This is a very common liver disorder that is often found in people that are overweight.
It is also commonly found in people with diabetes and heart disease. Fatty liver disease is on the rise and can make your liver more susceptible to serve disease like cirrhosis or cancer. Fatty liver occurs when there is too much fat entering the liver, too much fat being made in the liver or not enough fat being exported out of the liver. Choline is very important for helping to export fat out of the liver. In fact, when people consume a Choline deficient diet fat accumulates in the liver. Choline may also influence the amount of fat made by liver cells. We each have different genetic and biological susceptibilities to fatty liver and new research is showing that the amount of choline we need to eat also varies.
If you think that you are consuming a diet that is very low in choline or you are in a situation where choline demands are highly increased such as pregnancy, you may want to talk to your doctor about whether choline supplementation is a good option for you. There is also new evidence indicating that too much Choline could have detrimental health effects.
To prevent fatty liver disease it is very important to eat a well-balanced diet, exercise and maintain a healthy weight. Including the right amount of Choline in your diet can prevent fatty liver and possibly protect it from more serious disease. Talk to your doctor about what you can do to keep your liver healthy.