Choline and Testosterone: Why Deficiency Hurts Hormones

By Ali Kuoppala | Last reviewed Tue 25 September 2018

Medical Review by Dr. Vlad Belghiru, MD

Why do you feel so run down, exhausted, irritable, and unmotivated?  Why do you feel as if you are stuck in a persistent brain fog? Is it stress? Fatigue? Depression?  It could be all of the above and this could be caused by a choline deficiency leading to lowered levels of testosterone and decreased overall brain and physical health.

Choline is one of the most important compounds our body needs.

However, most of the Western population is massively deficient in choline.

And the use of cholinergic drugs, pharmaceuticals, and high-stress lifestyles, coupled with a general lack of dietary choline consumption has left many of us in a state of constant brain fog and irritability. Our brain heavily relies on choline for neurotransmission so it’s no wonder we feel out of whack when our choline is low.

Today I’d like to introduce you to the wonderful choline and give some tips on choline food sources as well as which types you should supplement with.

The Importance of Choline

A key nutrient for the human diet is choline. Choline, commonly grouped in the B vitamin family, is integral to many human bodies functions some of which are brain, liver, cellular, and endocrine system. Choline has been known to help reduce symptoms of depression, memory loss, and seizures.  Endurance athletes also use choline as an aid to build and maintain muscle as well as combat fatigue throughout peak training periods.

Side effects of low levels of choline include difficulty focusing, low levels of energy, and brain fog.  Deficiency in choline is no joke, it can lead to an increased threat of a condition known as Fatty Liver, which results from slowed metabolizing of fat and increased accumulation of lipids in the liver.  

Choline deficiency also slows the processes of the nervous system decreasing vital neurotransmission throughout the body.  If the brain does not get enough choline to maintain proper neurotransmission, it may resort to cannibalizing cell walls in order to obtain additional choline… plus it lends to a higher risk of memory loss and mental disorders.

Choline as a Natural Libido-Booster

As soon as your body catches wind of choline, it processes it for expedited shipping in the form of neurotransmitters and sends the messages to…well, your package (too much?).  The arrival of choline prompts the release of nitric oxide, which is said to be the main center stage neurotransmitter and chemical mediator of erectile functioning.  To put it bluntly, choline sparks the fire that helps you maintain a healthy erection.  Other hormonal benefits of choline are increased mood, energy, and motivation which can lead to an overall increase in sex drive. Well, I say that’s a pretty good delivery.

Popular High Choline Food Sources

Now that you know the importance of choline and what it can do for your testosterone levels, the question is how can you get more choline in your life?  Choline is obtained mostly through the diet.  The modern diet, which tends to be geared more towards convenience and ease rather than obtaining the key nutrients the body needs, is lacking in choline.  

The increased use of microwaves (heat is a real buzz kill for choline) along with the degrading quality of food and the fast food culture has resulted in less and less choline in the modern human’s diet. Bottom line, choline is important…really important.  The next section will guide you through ways in which you can specifically supplement your diet with choline.

Dietary Choline Supplementation

Though there is no official recommended Daily Value of choline in the human diet, the National Academy of Sciences recommends a minimum daily intake of 550 mg for adult males. Choline is found in the form of phosphatidylcholine.  Phosphatidylcholine is a lecithin and the most abundant phospholipid in all cells.  This lecithin can be found in the following foods:

  • Proteins: Egg yolks (best if consumed raw), meat livers and kidneys, veal, beef, chicken, cod, salmon, caviar, pork, and beans
  • Carbs: Brussel sprouts, wheat germ, broccoli, spinach, bok choy, cauliflower, cabbage, and mushrooms (consume with grass-fed ghee, this aids in the absorption of the nutrients)
  • Fats: Peanut butter, almond butter, vegetable oil, and yogurt, kefir, and raw milk  

The best way to obtain choline in food form is from animal products. Foods such as nuts and legumes contain anti-nutrients that may decrease choline absorption.  These foods can be consumed, but it is suggested that they are consumed in moderation.  

When natural sources of choline are not enough, some may find it beneficial to seek a supplement to aid in maintaining a healthy level of choline in the body. 

Avoiding a Choline Deficiency

Now that you know what choline is, how it can impact your testosterone, and what you can do to supplement your diet with the likes of its greatness, the choice is yours: live in a brain fog of tired moodiness and low sex drive, or get out there and be the choline man.  

Ali Kuoppala

Ali Kuoppala is the founder of Anabolic Men. He has authored and co-authored multiple men's health books and focuses on uncovering the methods of optimizing hormonal health. To date, his articles on various websites have been read more than 15-million times. To read more about Ali, visit his Medium article.