Choline is often found as an ingredient in supplements. But was is the connection to weight loss? Can Choline really help me lose weight?
Can Choline Help Me to Lose Weight?
Choline is a nutrient that offers many health benefits. Some research shows one of the things choline supplements may do is help people to lose weight.
Choline is also integral to many biological functions involving the heart, brain, and other major organs.
Without choline, the body would be unable to function correctly but the Institute of Medicine didn’t recognize its importance until 1998 when it classed it as an essential nutrient.
These days, choline is a key ingredient in supplements of all kinds. It is a main ingredient in the popular women’s supplement LeanBean.
It’s often present in nootropic formulations and is slowly gaining favor with the manufacturers of supplements that aim to help people to lose weight.
Choline and Weight Loss: A Look at the Research
Although studies involving rats are highly supportive of a link between choline supplements and weight loss, it’s still early days as far as human-based studies are concerned.
One of the most interesting studies was conducted by researchers at the Faculty of Physical Education at Zagazig University in Egypt. The results of the study are available in the Journal of Human Kinetics.
The study participants were a group of female martial artists. Twenty-two women took part. Fifteen of them were taekwondo fighters. The other seven were practitioners of Judo.
As with boxing and other fighting sports, taekwondo and judo competitions have weight categories. It’s not unusual for participants to try and reduce their body weight before competitions. Doing so can provide them with advantages over lighter fighters.
Some martial artists achieve weight loss by taking choline supplements so the Egyptian researchers decided to study the way the nutrient affects body mass and leptin levels.
The results of the study show the women who took choline tablets during the week before competition lost weight rapidly, losing 10.23 percent of their body fat in just seven days.
There were no reports of side effects. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4096089/)
Animal research provides conflicting results.
A team of researchers from the US conducted a four-week study involving Sprague Dawley rats.
The researchers were inspired to do this because of the recent interest in using choline supplements to boost athletic prowess and support weight loss.
The researchers were particularly interested in checking to see if using choline supplements has any toxic implications. Their findings suggest there are none.
The researchers gave the rats choline supplements in various concentrations. There were no side effects.
The data shows this. It also shows the rats lost weight, with the female rats responding particularly well.
After a thorough evaluation of the data, the researchers concluded the results were supportive of an earlier clinical trial that showed a high-choline diet can reduce body weight in humans.
Unfortunately, the researchers do not provide further details of the trial in question. (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28901218/)
Although the aforementioned study supports using choline to lose weight, the results of another study do not.
Researchers at the University of Alberta, in Edmonton, Canada conducted a study involving obese mice.
The data they collected shows the mice that were fed a choline-deficient diet gained weight more slowly and began burning their stores of fat.
All the mice were male, eight-weeks-old, and obese. The study ran for two months. The researchers split the mice into two groups.
One group got choline supplements. The other group was fed a diet designed to deliberately keep them choline-deficient.
As well as losing weight, the choline-deficient mice showed significant improvements in glucose and insulin intolerance.
After the study, the researchers concluded choline deficiency can prevent weight gain and improve glucose intolerance in obese mice.
The researchers also suggest choline restriction may be beneficial for obese prediabetic and diabetic patients. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3385711/)
The results of this study seriously conflict with the results of the two, aforementioned studies.
They also highlight a need for further investigations into using choline supplements as a way to lose weight.
Choline – An Important Nutrient
Choline also helps regulate the way fat and cholesterol build up in the body. Some researchers believe it may provide improvements in metabolic health as well.
Although the nutrient is present in many foods, including beef, eggs, and poultry; along with many fruits, vegetables, and wholegrains some people do not get sufficient choline in their normal diet.
This can cause triacylglycerides to rise, leading to fatty liver condition.
Some evidence suggests choline deficiency may also cause muscular damage.
The results of a study involving healthy adults who were deprived of choline show 80 percent of the postmenopausal female participants began showing signs of fatty liver or muscle damage.
Seventy-seven percent of the male participants exhibited the same signs. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2782876/)
Choline deficiency during pregnancy can also present many undesirable problems. Among other things, choline deficiency may cause cleft lip, hypospadias, and other birth defects.
Bearing in mind how important choline is to good health, the fact that some people only focus on in its ability to support weight loss is disappointing, to say the least.
Some sources state 90 percent of Americans do not consume enough choline.
Can Choline Help Me to Lose Weight? The Bottom Line
Although there is evidence to suggest choline supplements may support increases in weight loss, the nutrient’s abilities in this area would benefit from further study.
However, although there is a lack of research involving humans, the overall outlook is very good.
As well as showing potential as a weight loss aid, choline is a versatile and important nutrient that is necessary for good health.
When taken as a supplement, it may also have value in other areas. Enhancing brain function is one of them.
Should you take a choline supplement to help you lose weight? Bearing in mind the lack of side effects, and the overall potential for good, there is no reason why you should not.
However, there are other natural compounds, such as capsicum and green tea, that have a greater amount of research to support their fat-burning and thermic capabilities.
So, although choline may offer benefits, supplements that contain alternative options may offer a greater level of success.