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Food Sources of Acetylcholine

author image Danna Biala
Danna Biala began writing professionally in 2010. She is completing her master’s degree in applied physiology and nutrition from Columbia University and is currently interning to become a registered dietitian. Biala holds a Bachelor of Science in biochemistry from Brandeis University.
Food Sources of Acetylcholine
Egg yolks are an excellent source of choline, the precursor of acetylcholine. Photo Credit Two orange egg yolks isolated on black. image by Mauro Rodrigues from <a href='http://www.fotolia.com'>Fotolia.com</a>

Acetylcholine is a major neurotransmitter in the nervous system. It is required for memory, concentration and focus, and it also plays a role in muscle coordination. Acetylcholine is not a component of foods; instead, it is built from choline. The more choline you eat, the more acetylcholine you can produce. Choline is in lecithin and phosphatidyl choline, which is found in eggs, milk, organ meats and whole wheat products. Experts recommend 425 milligrams a day for women and 550 milligrams per day for men.


Food Sources of Acetylcholine
Basket full with brown eggs Photo Credit Tharakorn/iStock/Getty Images

Eggs are a significant source of choline, mainly because their yolks contain lecithin. Raw egg yolks contain 682 milligrams of choline per 100 grams of food, which is more than the total daily recommended amount. Cooked whole eggs have much less choline, depending on the method of preparation. Fried eggs have 272 milligrams, while hard-boiled eggs have 225 milligrams per 100 grams of food.


Food Sources of Acetylcholine
Cooked liver with pomegranate Photo Credit Romanista/iStock/Getty Images

Beef liver is especially rich in choline. Pan-fried beef liver has 355 mg of total choline in 3 ounces., which is about the size of a deck of cards. Pan-fried chicken liver has about 309 milligrams. Fish also has some choline. Atlantic cod has 71 milligrams in 3 ounces and salmon has 56 milligrams. Canned shrimp has 60 milligrams in 3 ounces.


Food Sources of Acetylcholine
Woman drinking glass of milk Photo Credit Wavebreakmedia Ltd/Wavebreak Media/Getty Images

Milk is another good food source of choline. There are 38 milligrams of choline in a cup of skim milk. In a 1.5 ounce bar of milk chocolate, there are 20 milligrams of choline. Low-fat yogurt and cottage cheese have about 16 milligrams of choline per 100 grams of food.

Other Foods

Food Sources of Acetylcholine
Bowl of Brussels sprouts Photo Credit tashka2000/iStock/Getty Images

Brussels sprouts and broccoli are both good sources of choline. One cup of cooked Brussels sprouts provides 41 milligrams of choline, while one cup of cooked broccoli gives you 40 milligrams of choline. Both peanuts and wheat germ contain choline. One cup of toasted wheat germ gives you 172 milligrams of choline. Smooth peanut butter has 20 milligrams of choline in 2 tablespoons.

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