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J Am Diet Assoc. 1997 Jun;97(6):639-46, 649; quiz 647-8.

Essential nature of choline with implications for total parenteral nutrition.

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Department of Surgery, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis 55455, USA.


Choline is known to be important in many metabolic pathways; at this time, however, it is not considered an essential nutrient for human beings. Current evidence strongly suggests that choline is "conditionally essential," particularly for patients receiving total parenteral nutrition (TPN). Studies in patients receiving long-term TPN have shown that low levels of plasma choline are common and can be associated with hepatic steatosis. Treatment of these patients with oral administration of choline improved plasma levels and decreased hepatic fat content; however, oral choline supplements are associated with poor compliance. More recently, investigators have evaluated intravenous administration of choline as a treatment for TPN-associated hepatic steatosis in patients with documented subnormal plasma free-choline levels. Initial results indicate that intravenous administration of choline may be an effective treatment for TPN-associated hepatic dysfunction.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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