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Clinical Effects of Inadequate Intake


Although choline is clearly essential to life, there is only one published study examining the effects of inadequate dietary intake in healthy men. That study reported decreased choline stores and liver damage (elevated alanine aminotransferase) when men were fed a choline-deficient diet containing adequate methionine, folate, and vitamin B12 for 3 weeks (Zeisel et al., 1991) (Figures 12-2 and 12-3). Another study, in which men were fed a choline- and methyl-deficient diet, reported decreased choline stores but did not report on liver function (Jacob et al., 1995). Individuals fed with total parenteral nutrition (TPN) solutions devoid of choline but adequate for methionine and folate develop fatty liver and liver damage as assessed by elevated alanine aminotransferase; in some individu

FIGURE 12-2 Plasma choline in healthy men ingesting a control (500 mg/day of choline) or choline-deficient (13 mg/day of choline) diet. *Difference from day 7 value: p < 0.01. Reprinted with permission, from Zeisel et al. (1991). Copyright 1991 by the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology.

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