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Choline is an essential nutrient that is naturally present in some foods. Choline is needed for many steps in metabolism and it is also needed to produce compounds that are important for memory, mood, muscle control, and other brain and nervous system functions including early brain development.

Choline can be produced in the body by the liver but the amount that the body makes naturally is not sufficient to meet our needs. Therefore it is important to include foods containing choline in the diet. When a diet is deficient in folate, a B-vitamin, the need for dietary choline rises.

The most common sources of choline in foods are animal-based products —meat, poultry, fish, dairy products, and eggs. Green vegetables and certain beans are also rich in choline, and other dietary sources of choline include nuts, seeds, and whole grains.

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