~ DNA Damage Caused By Choline Deficiency

óD Dye, Life Extension

A report published in the July, 2006 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition revealed that humans who consumed a diet deficient in the B vitamin choline experienced increased programmed self-destruction (apoptosis) of a type of white blood cell known as lymphocytes, as well damage to lymphocyte DNA. DNA damage has been associated with choline deficiency in previous research using laboratory animals and human cell cultures.

Researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill provided 20 men and 31 women aged 18 to 70 with diets containing adequate choline levels of 550 milligrams per 70 kilograms body weight daily for ten days, followed by a diet that provided less than 50 milligrams choline per day. Blood samples collected at the end of each phase were analyzed for lymphocyte DNA damage and apoptosis, and fasting blood samples were drawn every 3 to 4 days for blood chemistry measurements.

The choline deficient diet was continued until organ dysfunction developed, as determined by elevations in serum creatine phosphokinase greater than five times that of levels measured at the beginning of the study, or by elevation of liver fat content of over 28 percent. The deficient diet was continued for 42 days among those who did not develop organ dysfunction, and all participants received choline supplementation or choline adequate diets after discontinuing the diet.

Lymphocyte DNA damage occurred in all participants after being on the choline deficient diet. Among the 33 subjects who experienced organ dysfunction, more lymphocytes underwent apoptosis following the deficient diet than after the choline replete diet.

The authors conclude that measuring lymphocyte DNA damage and apoptosis could be useful in cases of suspected choline deficiency, and could help define the human dietary requirement for the vitamin.

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