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  1. Sanders, Lisa M. PhD, RD
  2. Zeisel, Steven H. MD, PhD


Choline is needed for the maintenance of the structural integrity and signaling functions of cell membranes, for neurotransmission, and for transport of lipids and as a source of methyl groups. Choline can be made de novo in the body, but some individuals must also obtain choline in the diet to prevent deficiency symptoms. A number of environmental and genetic factors influence dietary requirements for choline, and average intakes in the population vary widely. Therefore, certain individuals may be at greater risk of choline deficiency. Choline is critical during fetal development, particularly during the development of the brain, where it can influence neural tube closure and lifelong memory and learning functions