In the final part of my look at the mineral choline, we find the five places it comes into play in preventing and treating disease. Much of it revolves around the brain: stroke; memory; Alzheimer’s disease; head injury; and glaucoma.
Choline supplements could help treat stroke, according to several studies. A 1988 study that lasted two weeks and looked at 272 patients, found that 1,000 milligrams (mg) a day helped improve consciousness. A decade later, another study lasted six weeks and looked at 259 stroke victims. This time, doses of 500, 1,000, and 2,000 mg improved stroke symptoms.
Several studies in 1999 and 2001 found choline ineffective in helping people who’ve had a stroke, but then a very good study came in 2002. It examined 1,652 people over a long period of time. Here’s what they found: those who used choline within 24 hours of a stroke had complete recovery at three months. Researchers found 2,000 mg, the biggest dose, to be the best.
2. Memory Enhancement
That’s right; choline has been found to help people who are deteriorating mentally. Four studies, spanning 1990 to 2005, found that choline treatment could significantly improve behavior and cognitive performance, improve verbal memory, and improve overall memory. The doses ranged from 300 to 2,000 mg, but 1,000 mg was used the majority of the time.
3. Alzheimer’s Disease
Several smaller studies say that treatment with choline could benefit people who have the debilitating impairment known the world over as Alzheimer’s disease. Studies over four weeks, six weeks, and three months found that choline improved cognition, behavior, brain function, and even increased blood flow to the brain — all of which are improvements for someone with Alzheimer’s.
There is preliminary evidence that choline treatment could improve vision in patients with glaucoma, one of the most common conditions to affect vision.
5. Head Injury
Early evidence suggests that choline could reduce brain swelling and improve cognitive and motor functions in those who have suffered a head injury.
When it comes to dosage, oral doses range from 500 to 1,000 mg three times a day in the studies performed on choline. Side effects can include sweating, a “fishy” body odor, stomach pain, vomiting, loss of appetite, and nausea. High doses, over 3,500 mg a day, have been linked to low blood pressure (this causes blurred vision, fainting, confusion, and dizziness) and diarrhea.
That’s why the maximum anyone should take is 3,500 mg a day. This prevents blood pressure from dipping too low, and on a lesser note prevents the fishy body odor. In those with liver or kidney disease, depression, or Parkinson’s disease, however, there may be an increased risk of adverse side effects if consumption of choline is at 3,500 mg a day. Best to check with a doctor on the best dosage for you before you start taking this supplement.