I want to show you a remarkable compound that nature, in its wisdom, has provided a dual role for.
1) It’s what you use to tell your muscles to move.
When you have the thought that you would like to hit that golf ball, it starts as an electrical impulse. Then it’s translated into the muscle, and there’s a chemical messenger that makes that happen.
2) It’s also responsible for your alertness and memory.
So we find that when people have more of it, they’re smarter, more alert, and have better recall… but they also perform better.
Athletes who have more of it are faster, stronger and more competitive.
This compound is related to how caffeine works. And that’s why coffee has been found to both increase physical performance and boost mental performance, because it releases this chemical messenger, called acetylcholine.
It’s also the downside of coffee. Because you’re releasing your stored acetylcholine, you’re depleting it. That’s why coffee makes you feel run down, weak and tired.
But you can give yourself a nutrient that’s a building block for making more acetylcholine so you can have muscle energy and greater alertness.
I’m talking about choline. And the best way to get more of it is to eat meat and eggs.
And when you have more choline, you can:
- Keep moving, stay active and stay balanced
- Have better reaction time
- Have more strength and stamina
- Have energy for the entire day
- Stay clear and focused
- Make faster, more accurate decisions
- Sleep deeply without tossing and turning
It’s Simple, But Essential
You can accomplish an amazing number of things when you get enough choline. And yet it’s the simplest little molecule. It’s nitrogen in the middle surrounded by four compounds…
…and that’s it. That’s all there is to it.
It would take up a whole page to show you what vitamin B12 looks like.
Because choline is so simple, it’s also unique.
For one thing, it’s part vitamin, and part nutrient.
The definition of a vitamin is that you can’t make it in your body. Choline is considered a kind of B vitamin (sometimes referred to as vitamin B4), even though you can make a little bit of it.
But because you can’t make enough, and you have to get the rest of what you need through food, choline is classified as an essential nutrient.
There’s a little bit of a dispute as to when it was discovered – in 1862 or 1864 – but what we do know is that you can’t live without choline. You wouldn’t be able to walk or think… you wouldn’t even be able to hold your cells together.
But besides what choline does all by itself, one of the best things about choline is how well it works with other substances to make even more nutrients.
More Energy For Everybody
I’m sure you’ve heard how damaging “free radicals” are. Those are the unstable chemical “burglars” that steal from other molecules. Then the burglarized molecules turn into free radicals too, doing even more damage.
Choline is the opposite. It’s more like Santa Claus. Choline visits every tissue in your body, handing out parts of itself called “methyl groups” like presents to other molecules.
This is part of its uniqueness. Choline is the only nutrient that has three methyl groups to give away.
Almost every important process in your body uses this “give and take” of methyl groups.
It’s how you turn genes on so you can be virile, confident and happy. It’s how your cells talk to each other so you can move when you want to.
It’s how you make the brain chemical acetylcholine that gives you your creativity and mental power. And it helps you make antioxidants to fight off the effects of the toxins you’re exposed to in our modern world.
Part of the way choline works is that it’s in the membrane of every cell in your body. Your cells use choline to stay flexible enough to allow in both water and fat-soluble antioxidant vitamins from your food and supplements.
And then, choline also allows the waste to get out. Without choline, your cells would literally get “clogged” and your energy levels would drop like a stone. That’s one of the reasons why, when your stores of choline get low, you feel tired and sluggish.
Let It Go To Your Head
Your brain especially can get tired and sluggish without lots of choline. One reason is that the brain has a LOT of cells that need choline to build their membranes.
Another is that choline is the major building block for acetylcholine. That’s a brain chemical that lets those cells fire signals to each other when you want to move, or when you learn things.
But unlike caffeine which depletes your reserves of acetylcholine and burns you out, choline helps you build them up.
That’s because your body does a simple conversion, and combines a substance called DMAE – an amino acid naturally produced by your brain – with choline to make acetylcholine.
This is what allows you to think clearly and creatively, stay strong and energized, and have that “spring in your step.”
You need choline for all the basics like thought, memory and sleep. It even controls how you move. Your muscles receive commands from your brain via acetylcholine. That means your sense of balance and stability is controlled by this key transmitter.
Fortunately, there are lots of good ways to get choline in the food you eat.
Step 1 – The best way to get more choline is to eat one of the “taboo” foods modern nutritionists tell you to stay away from – animal meat and eggs.
When people used to eat steak and eggs for breakfast they ate less and had more energy. Now you are told to eat “healthy grains”… and people are slumping in their office chairs in the afternoon, tired, weak and listless.
You can change that by eating more of the things your brain needs – animal products like eggs and red meat, which are full of healthy fats and choline. Animal liver is the best source of choline. Two ounces of beef liver have 174 mg of choline. One large egg (also about 2 ounces) has 141 mg.
Step 2 – You’ll also find choline in other foods like cauliflower (two ounces have 25 mg), chickpeas, lentils and sesame seeds. It’s also in some leafy green vegetables like cabbage, but in very small amounts.
Step 3 – You can supplement, but be careful, because there are quite a few choline products out there, so it’s important to differentiate them.
- You’ll find “health” experts promoting lecithin (phosphatidylcholine or PC-lecithin) because it has choline in it. But lecithin comes from soy, which has an estrogen-like effect on your body. Lecithin can also cause diarrhea and stomach discomfort in the high doses you would need. I don’t recommend anything that comes from soy, so avoid lecithin.
- Choline chloride and choline bitartrate are what farmers usually put in their animal feed because these kinds of choline don’t have the side effects on the stomach that soy choline has. But, there’s not much active choline in them, so they’re not the greatest kinds of choline for humans to take.
- Choline citrate is choline combined in a base of natural extracts from citrus fruits, and has the most active choline. In my view, it’s the best way to get high levels of choline, and there are no side effects – except a clean rush of energy for your brain.
You need at least 425 mg of choline a day as a woman; 550 mg if you’re a man, or a woman who’s nursing or pregnant.
Dr. Al Sears is fast becoming the nation's leading authority on longevity and heart health. His cutting edge breakthroughs and commanding knowledge of alternative medicine have been transforming the lives of his patients for over 15 years.
Dr. Sears currently owns and operates a successful integrative medicine and anti-aging clinic in Wellington, Florida with over 15,000 patients. Over the course of his career, he has developed his own approach to heart health, longevity and anti-aging medicine - combining the best of modern medical science with natural holistic techniques and treatments.