CHOLINE Content of Common Foods

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Food NameCholine
Butter, salted18.8
Butter, whipped, with salt18.8
Butter oil, anhydrous22.3
Cheese, blue15.4
Cheese, brick15.4
Cheese, brie15.4
Cheese, camembert15.4
Cheese, cheddar16.5
Cheese, colby15.4
Cheese, cottage, creamed, large or small curd18.4
Cheese, cottage, creamed, with fruit17.5
Cheese, cottage, nonfat, uncreamed, dry, large or small curd17.9
Cheese, cottage, lowfat, 2% milkfat16.3
Cheese, cottage, lowfat, 1% milkfat17.5
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Usage Note

  • Choline value is in mg and calculated per 100g of food weight.
  • This choline database contains choline content of 4,157 common foods.
  • Click on column header to sort foods by name or by choline content.

Choline

information from the National Institutes of Health

Choline is an essential nutrient that's needed to make cell membranes and the nerve cell messenger acetylcholine. Foods that are rich in choline include milk, eggs, liver and peanuts. For more than a decade, choline has been recognized as a key nutrient for fetal development during pregnancy. However, it’s estimated that less than 15% of pregnant women in the United States get enough choline in their diets. Lack of choline during pregnancy may lead to reduced blood vessel growth in the brain of the developing fetus.

Nutritional Importance of Choline

Choline is an essential nutrient for humans and is necessary for the normal function of all cells. As a critical component of the cell membrane, it ensures the structural integrity and signaling functions of the cell. Choline is also used for neurotransmission (as the metabolite, acetylcholine), is a major source of methyl donors, and is required for lipid transport from the liver.1 Considering these many diverse roles, choline deficiency can cause disorders in many bodily systems, including liver, muscle, and lymphocytes in humans and, additionally, the kidney, pancreas, and developing brain and nervous system in animals. A major role of choline is to serve as a precursor for the synthesis of membrane phospholipids, specifically phosphatidylcholine. Phosphatidylcholine is the predominant phospholipid in mammalian membranes (>50%) and is critical for maintaining cell structure and facilitating cell signaling and transport across the membrane. Choline can also be found in sphingomyelin, another membrane phospholipid formed from phosphatidylcholine. Most of the phosphatidylcholine is synthesized from free choline using the cytidine diphospho-choline pathway. However, about 30% of phosphatidylcholine can be made by the sequential methylation of phosphatidylethanolamine (another membrane phospholipid) by the enzyme phosphatidylethanolamine methyltransferase (PEMT). By this pathway, the body can make choline de novo. However, this pathway is insufficient to supply all of the body's need for choline; thus, choline remains an essential nutrient.


Choline - Additional Info

Choline is a water-soluble essential nutrient. It is usually grouped within the B-complex vitamins.

Choline must be consumed through the diet in order for the body to remain healthy. It is used in the synthesis of the constructional components in the body's cell membranes. Unfortunately, dietary recommendations have discouraged people from eating high choline foods, such as egg and fatty meats. The 2005 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey stated that only 2% of postmenopausal women consume the recommended intake for choline.

Choline was discovered by Adolph Strecker in 1864 and chemically synthesized in 1866. In 1998 choline was classified as an essential nutrient by the Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine.

Choline's importance as a nutrient was first appreciated in the early research on insulin functions when choline was found to be the necessary nutrient in preventing fatty liver. In 1975 scientists discovered that the administration of choline increased the synthesis and release of acetylcholine by neurons. These discoveries lead to the increased interest in dietary choline and brain function. Today, we know Choline to be a dietary nutrient important for all cells to function normally. We have come to learn that humans require choline in their diet in order to sustain normal life. Choline is required for synthesis of essential components of membranes and is an important source of labile methyl groups.

A recent study in Nov 2010 by Leslie M. Fischer, Kerry Ann da Costa, Lester Kwock, Joseph Galanko, and Steven Zeisel was to test postmenopausal women with low estrogen levels and see if they were more susceptible to the risk of organ dysfunction if not given a sufficient choline filled diet. When deprived of choline in their diet almost 80% of the men and postmenopausal women developed liver or muscle damage. The study also found that young women can supply more choline because pregnancy is a time when the body's demand for choline are highest. Choline is particularly used to support the fetus's developing nervous system

Choline Deficiency

Choline deficiency may play a role in liver disease, atherosclerosis, and possibly neurological disorders. One symptom of choline deficiency is an elevated level of the liver enzyme ALT.

It is particularly important for pregnant women to get enough choline, since low choline intake may raise the rate of neural tube defects in infants, and may affect their child's memory. One study found that higher dietary intake of choline shortly before and after conception was associated with a lower risk of neural tube defects. If low choline intake causes an elevated homocysteine level, it raises the risk for preeclampsia, premature birth, and very low birth weight.

Women with diets richer in choline may have a lower risk for breast cancer, but some studies found no association.

There is some evidence to suggest that choline is anti-inflammatory. In the ATTICA study, higher dietary intake of choline was associated with lower levels of inflammatory markers. A small study found that choline supplements reduced symptoms of allergic rhinitis.


Choline Food Sources

List of 120 foods highest in choline. Choline content is in milligrams per 100 grams of food weight.



Foods Highest in Choline Choline

Egg, yolk, dried 1753

Egg, whole, dried 1194

Egg, yolk, raw, fresh 820

Egg, yolk, raw, frozen 791

Egg Mix, USDA Commodity 603

Beef, variety meats and by-products, kidneys, cooked, simmered 513

Fish, caviar, black and red, granular 491

Beef, variety meats and by-products, brain, cooked, simmered 491

Pork, fresh, variety meats and by-products, chitterlings, cooked, simmered 471

Beef, variety meats and by-products, liver, cooked, braised 426

Beef, variety meats and by-products, liver, cooked, pan-fried 418

Veal, variety meats and by-products, liver, cooked, pan-fried 411

Veal, variety meats and by-products, liver, cooked, braised 399

Oil, soybean lecithin 350

Fish, roe, mixed species, raw 335

Beef, variety meats and by-products, liver, raw 333

Chicken, liver, all classes, cooked, pan-fried 327

Egg, whole, cooked, fried 317

Veal, variety meats and by-products, liver, raw 310

Egg, whole, raw, frozen, salted 297

Egg, whole, raw, fresh 294

Egg, whole, cooked, hard-boiled 294

Fish, cod, Atlantic, dried and salted 291

Chicken, liver, all classes, cooked, simmered 290

Beverage, instant breakfast powder, chocolate, sugar-free, not reconstituted 267

Egg, quail, whole, fresh, raw 263

Egg, goose, whole, fresh, raw 263

Egg, duck, whole, fresh, raw 263

Caribou, shoulder meat, dried (Alaska Native) 258


Foods Highest in Choline Choline

Braunschweiger (a liver sausage), pork 256

Eggs, scrambled, frozen mixture 256

Egg, whole, cooked, omelet 248

Fish, whitefish, eggs (Alaska Native) 248

Egg, whole, cooked, poached 234

Fish, salmon, chum, dried (Alaska Native) 231

Beef, variety meats and by-products, heart, cooked, simmered 229

Pate, chicken liver, canned 229

Whey, sweet, dried 225

Whey, acid, dried 225

Salmon, red (sockeye), filets with skin, smoked (Alaska Native) 224

Turkey, liver, all classes, raw 222

Egg, whole, cooked, scrambled 221

Turkey, liver, all classes, cooked, simmered 220

Veal, variety meats and by-products, thymus, cooked, braised 209

Fish, whitefish, dried (Alaska Native) 206

Caribou, rump meat, half dried (Alaska Native) 203

Mushrooms, shiitake, dried 202

Pork, fresh, variety meats and by-products, stomach, raw 195

Beef, variety meats and by-products, tripe, raw 195

Chicken, liver, all classes, raw 194

Soy flour, low-fat 192

Soy flour, defatted, crude protein basis (N x 6.25) 192

Soy protein isolate 191

Soy flour, full-fat, raw 191

Fast foods, egg, scrambled 181

Cereals ready-to-eat, wheat germ, toasted, plain 179

Chicken, broilers or fryers, giblets, cooked, simmered 178

Vermicelli, made from soy 177

Cocoa mix, with aspartame, low calorie, powder, with added calcium phosphorus, without added sodium 176

or vitamin A


Foods High in Choline Choline

Turkey, heart, all classes, cooked, simmered 173

Milk, dry, nonfat, regular, without added vitamin A and vitamin D 169

Milk, dry, nonfat, regular, with added vitamin A and vitamin D 169

Milk, dry, nonfat, instant, without added vitamin A and vitamin D 168

Milk, dry, nonfat, instant, with added vitamin A and vitamin D 168

Snacks, pork skins, plain 165

Turkey, all classes, giblets, cooked, simmered, some giblet fat 157

Beef, variety meats and by-products, tongue, cooked, simmered 155

Beverage, instant breakfast powder, chocolate, not reconstituted 148

Veal, leg (top round), separable lean and fat, cooked, braised 141

Pork, cured, ham with natural juices, slice, bone-in, separable lean only, heated, pan-broil 139

Beef, round, top round, separable lean only, trimmed to 0" fat, all grades, cooked, braised 138

Beef, round, top round, separable lean only, trimmed to 0" fat, choice, cooked, braised 138

Beef, round, top round, separable lean only, trimmed to 0" fat, select, cooked, braised 138

Beef, round, top round, separable lean and fat, trimmed to 0" fat, select, cooked, braised 136

Beef, round, top round, separable lean and fat, trimmed to 0" fat, all grades, cooked, braised 136

Beef, round, top round, separable lean and fat, trimmed to 0" fat, choice, cooked, braised 136

Crustaceans, shrimp, mixed species, cooked, moist heat 135

Bacon bits, meatless 135

Game meat, deer, shoulder clod, separable lean only, 3-5 lb roast, cooked, braised 134

Veal, rib, separable lean only, cooked, braised 134

Beef, round, bottom round, steak, separable lean only, trimmed to 0" fat, select, cooked, braised 133

Beef, chuck, arm pot roast, separable lean only, trimmed to 1/8" fat, choice, cooked, braised 132

Beef, chuck, arm pot roast, separable lean only, trimmed to 1/8" fat, all grades, cooked, braised 132

Beef, round, top round, separable lean and fat, trimmed to 1/8" fat, select, cooked, braised 132

Beef, chuck, arm pot roast, separable lean only, trimmed to 1/8" fat, select, cooked, braised 132

Whale, beluga, meat, dried (Alaska Native) 132

Beef, round, bottom round, steak, separable lean only, trimmed to 1/8" fat, select, cooked, braised 131

Beef, round, bottom round, steak, separable lean and fat, trimmed to 0" fat, select, cooked, braised 131

Beef, round, top round, separable lean and fat, trimmed to 1/8" fat, all grades, cooked, braised 131

Pork, cured, bacon, cooked, pan-fried 131


Foods High in Choline Choline

Beef, round, bottom round, steak, separable lean only, trimmed to 1/8" fat, all grades, cooked, braised 131

Beef, round, bottom round, steak, separable lean only, trimmed to 1/8" fat, choice, cooked, braised 130

Mollusks, oyster, eastern, wild, cooked, moist heat 130

Game meat, beaver, cooked, roasted 130

Game meat, rabbit, wild, cooked, stewed 130

Beef, round, top round, separable lean and fat, trimmed to 1/8" fat, choice, cooked, braised 130

Beef, round, bottom round, steak, separable lean only, trimmed to 0" fat, all grades, cooked, braised 130

Lamb, domestic, cubed for stew or kabob (leg and shoulder), separable lean only, trimmed to 1/4" fat, 129

cooked, braised

Beef, round, top round, separable lean only, trimmed to 1/8" fat, choice, cooked, pan-fried 129

Beef, brisket, flat half, separable lean only, trimmed to 0" fat, select, cooked, braised 129

Cake, chocolate, prepared from recipe without frosting 128

Veal, leg (top round), separable lean only, cooked, pan-fried, not breaded 128

Dairy drink mix, chocolate, reduced calorie, with low-calorie sweeteners, powder 128

Beef, brisket, flat half, separable lean and fat, trimmed to 0" fat, select, cooked, braised 128

Beef, round, bottom round, steak, separable lean and fat, trimmed to 0" fat, all grades, cooked, braised 128

Pork, cured, ham with natural juices, slice, bone-in, separable lean and fat, heated, pan-broil 127

Beef, chuck, arm pot roast, separable lean only, trimmed to 0" fat, select, cooked, braised 127

Beef, chuck, arm pot roast, separable lean only, trimmed to 0" fat, choice, cooked, braised 127

Beef, chuck, mock tender steak, boneless, separable lean only, trimmed to 0" fat, choice, cooked, braised 127

Veal, shoulder, blade, separable lean only, cooked, braised 127

Turkey, heart, all classes, raw 127

Beef, brisket, flat half, separable lean only, trimmed to 0" fat, all grades, cooked, braised 127

Fast foods, biscuit, with egg, cheese, and bacon 127

Beef, brisket, flat half, separable lean only, trimmed to 1/8" fat, select, cooked, braised 126

Veal, rib, separable lean and fat, cooked, braised 126

Beef, brisket, flat half, separable lean only, trimmed to 1/8" fat, all grades, cooked, braised 126

Beef, brisket, flat half, separable lean only, trimmed to 1/8" fat, choice, cooked, braised 126

Beef, round, bottom round, steak, separable lean only, trimmed to 0" fat, choice, cooked, braised 126

Beef, round, top round, separable lean and fat, trimmed to 1/8" fat, choice, cooked, pan-fried 126

Veal, loin, separable lean only, cooked, braised 125

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