The "Memory" Vitamin
My newfound knowledge about the significance of Choline (a part of the B vitamin family) sparks today’s blog post about Sunflower Lecithin Powder!
Choline possesses several unique connections to fat in the body. “Chole” is Greek for “bile”; bile is the bodily substance that allows the liver to process fat.[i] Choline can also be found within the layers of fat composing the membranes of every cell in our body.[ii] Choline allows cell membrane fats to be more flexible, in sustaining the cells of the body.[iii]
Furthermore, choline is easily absorbed by the intestinal tract during digestion and is one of the only vitamins capable of crossing the blood-brain barrier into spinal fluid, so that it may be directly involved with the metabolism/processing of various brain chemicals.[iv] These brain chemicals are called “neurotransmitters”; they are responsible for communicating information throughout the brain and body. Choline plays a critical part in the formation of neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which works to preserve the integrity of the electrical transmission that occurs across the gaps between nerves, helping the flow of electrical energy within the Nervous System.[v] Acetylcholine also supports the insulation-like layer (the myelin sheath) that covers nerve fibers; as such, it has come to be known as the "memory" vitamin.[vi]
Choline can be found in several food sources, including:
Fish (i.e. cod, salmon, tuna)
Liver, and other organ meats
*The HIGHEST amount of choline is found in LECITHIN.[viii] Lecithin is typically obtained from soybeans[ix]; with soybeans being one of the top genetically-modified crops and inflammatory for many, sunflower lecithin is a highly-desirable alternative.
Lecithin, from this sunflower source, is naturally-occurring Phosphatidylcholine – the most abundant phospholipid in cell membranes of the body[x]. Lecithin supports the body by mixing fats and cholesterol together that normally wouldn’t mix together, helping to metabolize them into smaller fat molecules so that they may be effectively transported through and utilized by the body's cells.[xi] The choline within lecithin also aids in detoxification of the liver, gall bladder function and kidney function.[xii]
Sunflower lecithin powder can be added to smoothies, juices, soups, salads and/or cereals. I purchased a small tub of this ingredient at my local health food store for approximately $15.00, using up to a maximum of 1 tbsp. daily in my morning smoothie.
*In the event that you presently take any medications and are unsure as to whether a particular dietary habit is supportive of your current, individual circumstances, seeking guidance from your medical professional, a nutrition professional or Naturopathic Doctor is highly recommended.
[i-xii] Haas, Elson M. (2006). Staying Healthy with Nutrition: The Complete Guide to Diet and Nutritional Medicine. New York: Random House Inc.