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Fatty Liver Disease Is Triggered by Choline Deficiency

Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola Fact Checked

what causes fatty liver

Story at-a-glance -

  • Choline, found in ample amounts in egg yolks, is an essential nutrient for brain, nervous system, cardiovascular and liver function, and is essential for prevention of fatty liver disease, including nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)
  • An estimated 90 percent of the U.S. population are deficient in choline, a nutrient required to move fat out of your liver
  • NAFLD is the most common form of liver disease in the U.S., with an estimated prevalence of 30 to 40 percent among the adult population
  • Choline deficiency appears to be a far more significant trigger of NAFLD than excess fructose, and the rise in NAFLD may be largely the result of the widespread avoidance of liver and egg yolks
  • In the absence of sufficient choline, even healthy saturated fats can contribute to fatty liver. Choline minimizes liver fat no matter what the source, and the more dietary fat you consume — even if the fat itself is healthy — the higher your requirement for choline

Choline, initially discovered in 1862, was officially recognized as an essential nutrient for human health by the Institute of Medicine in 1998. This nutrient, which you need to get from your diet, is required for:

Healthy fetal development Choline is required for proper neural tube closure, brain development and healthy vision. Research shows mothers who get sufficient choline impart lifelong memory enhancement to their child due to changes in the development of the hippocampus (memory center) of the child’s brain. Choline deficiency also raises your risk of premature birth, low birth weight and preeclampsia


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