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Updated: Sep 12

Choline might not be the sexiest nutrient in the room, but it deserves more time in the spotlight than it gets.

Choline Rich Foods

Choline is an essential nutrient used in many functions in the body, and most people do not get enough of it, especially pregnant and breastfeeding women, which can cause a lot of issues.

While humans can synthesize small amounts of choline in the liver, primarily as phosphatidylcholine, it is not enough to meet daily needs. In diets deficient in folate, choline needs will be even higher because choline takes over as the methyl donor.

How much choline does a person need each day?







​125 MG/DAY

125 MG/DAY


150 MG/DAY

150 MG/DAY


200 MG/DAY

200 MG/DAY


250 MG/DAY

250 MG/DAY

9-13 YEARS

375 MG/DAY

375 MG/DAY

14-18 YEARS

550 MG/DAY

400 MG/DAY

450 MG/DAY

550 MG/DAY


​550 MG/DAY

425 MG/DAY

450 MG/DAY

550 MG/DAY

Most people in the United States consume less than the AI for choline. An analysis of data from the 2013–2014 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) found that the average daily choline intake from foods and beverages among children and teens is 256 mg for ages 2–19 [14]. In adults, the average daily choline intake from foods and beverages is 402 mg in men and 278 mg in women. Intakes from supplements contribute a very small amount to total choline intakes.

According to an analysis of 2007–2008 NHANES data, black males of all ages had lower mean choline intakes than their white and Hispanic counterparts, but choline intakes did not differ substantially among females of different races/ethnicities [10].

What does choline do?

Choline is a source of methyl groups needed for many steps in metabolism. The body needs choline to synthesize phosphatidylcholine and sphingomyelin, two major phospholipids vital for cell membranes. Therefore, all plant and animal cells need choline to preserve their structural integrity [1,2]. In addition, choline is needed to produce acetylcholine, an important neurotransmitter for memory, mood, muscle control, and other brain and nervous system functions [1-3]. Choline also plays important roles in modulating gene expression, cell membrane signaling, lipid transport and metabolism, and early brain development [1,2].

Every cell in your body needs choline. You can imagine that not getting enough of something that every cell needs can cause some problems. Choline plays a massive role in fetal and child brain and nervous system development and far more roles than I could lay out in one blog article. You can read all about them here.

Studies have shown that:

I cannot stress enough how important it is to get enough choline in your diet. Without sufficient dietary intake of choline, the whole body suffers.

What are some food sources of choline?

Before I get to that, it’s essential to understand that just because a food contains a particular nutrient, it does not mean it is the best form of that nutrient or that the form it has is well utilized. Choosing foods that contain the most bioavailable and absorbable forms of that nutrient should always be the goal. Here is an example of what I mean by that.

  • Heme iron from animal products is better absorbed and utilized than non-heme iron from plant foods. In addition, things like tea and dairy do not reduce heme iron absorption but do reduce the absorption of non-heme iron.

  • Heme iron is absorbed at 25-30 percent, while non-heme iron is absorbed between 1-10 percent.

  • So to get the same amount of iron from animal products from plant foods, a person would need to consume at least three times as much, and usually more than that.

  • Three ounces of beef liver contain about fifteen milligrams of iron. Spinach is often claimed (wrongly) to be a good source of iron, with one cup of cooked spinach containing about six and a half milligrams of non-heme iron. However, iron absorption from spinach is very low, less than two percent.

  • To get the equivalent amount of iron from three ounces of beef liver, someone would have to eat about thirty-five cups of cooked spinach.

Spinach is not a good source of iron.

Choline is best absorbed with fat and in the phosphatidylcholine form. Here are some good bioavailable and utilizable food sources of choline.

If you cannot get enough choline in your diet, then a whole-food choline supplement may be for you.

Beef Liver is probably the most nutrient-dense food on the planet. A heaping teaspoon of NXGEN Beef Liver powder provides the equivalent of nearly two ounces of regeneratively farmed beef liver, which supplies about 220 milligrams of choline, and a deeply nourishing treasure trove of other nutrients and beneficial compounds in their most absorbable forms. It can be blended in smoothies or mixed into food as an easy way to boost the nutrition of any meal.

Freeze-dried NXGEN Wild Salmon Roe capsules are a great source of choline (regular fish oil and refined fish roe supplements do not contain choline). They are also packed with a ton of other nutrients. Check out our blog to learn about the fantastic benefits of wild fish roe.

NXGEN Whole Brain capsules combine two choline-rich foods, regeneratively farmed lamb brains and beef liver.

Of all the times it is most important to be getting enough choline, pregnancy and postnatal are the most important. Make sure your prenatal has plenty of choline in it. This nutrient is incredibly important to pregnant and nursing mothers. Unfortunately, most prenatal vitamins have little to no choline, despite most pregnant and nursing mothers not getting enough of this crucial nutrient. For example, the most popular prenatal vitamin on the market talks extensively about how vital choline is and then only puts a paltry fifty-five milligrams in, which is not nearly enough. Companies putting out prenatal vitamins with little to no choline should be ashamed of themselves. Check out our blog to learn more about how to choose a good prenatal vitamin.

Hopefully, this article gets you thinking about this oft-forgotten nutrient superstar and getting more of it in your diet.

If you need help getting on the road to better health, our support is only an email away. You can email us anytime at, and our superstar staff will help you get on the right track!

Fat baby in sunglasses

Baby Parker ate lots of egg yolks to get his choline!

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