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Choline Side Effects

By Norma Chew

Choline is a dietary supplement; essential for proper cell function. Choline benefits the heart, the liver and the neurological system. According to Linus Pauling Institute, choline is a precursor for acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter; a chemical located and released in the brain that allows impulse to pass from one nerve cell to another. A small amount of choline is synthesized by the body but it must be consumed in the diet. Milk, eggs, liver and peanuts are rich sources of choline. Choline has its benefits; it also has some side effects.

Body Odor

One of the commonest side effects of choline is a fishy body odor due to consuming too much choline. The body odor is caused by the excessive production and secretion of trimethylamine, a metabolic by product of choline. Fortunately it is easily corrected by decreasing the amount of choline consumed or discontinuing its use, which will quickly resolve this side effect.

Other Side Effects

Other side effects due to over consumption of choline may include increased body temperature, excessive sweating as well as increased salivation. In addition there may be symptoms of nausea, upset stomach and a decrease in appetite as well as diarrhea. Decreasing the amount of choline consumed or discontinuing its use will also resolve these side effects. Over consumption of choline may also cause dizziness, hypotension and abnormal electrocardiogram results.

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Allergic Reaction

Individuals with a history of allergy to choline or lecithin should avoid taking choline. An allergic reaction is a serious medical emergency, symptoms may include a rash or hives with itching and swelling of the face and tongue or throat, along with tightness in the chest, shortness of breath and difficulty breathing. If any of these symptoms occur, patients should discontinue use and receive immediate emergency medical care.

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