Vitamin B4 / choline
Vitamin B4 – or choline – is a water soluble vitamin. Biologically, phosphocholine is its most important variation, being essential in several syntheses, such as the anabolism of lecithin and methionine.
Which foods contain the vitamin?
The vitamin’s biofunctions
Choline is essential for the synthesis and normal generation of several phospholipids, such as lecithin and neuromediator acetylcholine. In the human organism, the field of application for choline is wide, covering the transmission of nerve impulses, the structure of myelin, and the metabolism of lipids and cholesterol.
Absorption, retention, and excretion
Choline is absorbed from the small intestine thanks to active transportation, and some part of it is phosphorylated into phosphocholine which is used in the synthesis of phospholipids. Phosphocholine and choline are transported by the lipoproteins of blood, whereas the phosphocholine and some of the choline also end up in tissues, while both of them are involved in metabolism.
It is important to know that the absorption of choline is inhibited by alcohol, coffee, and the excessive use of sugar.
Problems related to deficiency
There is generally no deficiency of this vitamin, since it is obtained in sufficient amounts with food, along with being produced by the microflora in the digestive tract, and is synthesised in the organism itself.
- The accumulation of fat in the liver
- A blood pressure rise
- Worsening of atherosclerosis
The continuous consumption of large quantities may cause a deficiency of vitamin B6.
The use of vitamin preparations
B4 is not a typical vitamin because the body is capable of synthesising it by itself.
As an additional treatment component, it is used to treat alcoholism, eczema, muscular dystrophy, asthma, liver cirrhosis, hepatitis, atherosclerosis, hypertension, stenocardia, multiple sclerosis, headaches, dizziness and, for instance, hypoglycaemia.