High Levels of Choline Not for Parkinson’s

Q My husband just started taking CerebroPlex. There is a possibility that his problem could be Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease. It states on the label not to take CerebroPlex if one has Parkinson’s. What ingredient is the “no-no” for Parkinson’s?

Alma, Waldwick, NJ

A It’s the choline and other cholinergics, including CDP-choline and DMAE, that may represent a problem for Parkinson’s patients. In 1998, the Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine established the tolerable upper intake level for choline at 3.5 grams/day for adults.1 The basis for this recommendation was primarily to help prevent hypotension (low blood pressure) and secondarily to prevent the fishy body odor due to increased excretion of trimethylamine.

The upper intake level is for generally healthy people. However, the Food and Nutrition Board noted that individuals with liver or kidney disease, Parkinson’s disease, depression, or a genetic disorder known as trimethylaminuria might be at increased risk of adverse effects when consuming choline at levels near the upper intake limit.

  1. Institute of Medicine, Food and Nutrition Board. Dietary Reference Intakes for Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Vitamin B12, Pantothenic Acid, Biotin, and Choline. National Academy Press, Washington, DC, 1998, p 411.

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