A supplement containing 2 g choline per day speeds up weight loss on a low-calorie diet. Sports scientists at Zagazig University in Egypt came to this conclusion after giving choline to female martial arts practitioners for a week.
The Egyptians wanted to know whether choline [structural formula on right] might be an alternative supplement instead of caffeine. Caffeine is an effective slimming supplement, but not everyone reacts well to the doses required for fat loss.
Choline is a vitamin-like substance that the body manufactures in small amounts, and of which we need to consume about 400-550 mg in our food. Choline is found in egg yolks, shellfish and meat. Choline is a building block for cell membranes and for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, and it plays a role in the transformation of fatty acids into energy.
The researchers did an experiment with 22 women who did martial arts – judo or taekwondo. Half of the subjects were given a capsule containing 1 g choline twice a day. The other half of the subjects were given a placebo.
The women were preparing for a competition, so were probably on a calorie-restricted diet, although the researchers do not divulge any information about the women’s diet.
The fat percentage of the women in the experimental group decreased twice as fast as that of the women in the control group. This was a statistically significant effect.
The BMI of the women in both groups went down. The decrease seemed to be faster in the experimental group, but according to the Egyptians’ calculations the effect of choline supplementation on BMI reduction was not statistically significant.
In the week that the experiment lasted the women’s muscle strength did not decrease – in either group.
“Choline supplementation in female taekwondo and judo athletes can improve lipid metabolism and encourages rapid body mass reduction”, the researchers concluded.
Effect of choline supplementation on rapid weight loss and biochemical variables among female taekwondo and judo athletes.
Taekwondo and judo competitions are divided into weight categories. Many athletes reduce their body mass a few days before competition in order to obtain a competitive advantage over lighter opponents. To achieve fast body mass reduction, athletes use a number of nutritional strategies, including choline supplementation. The goal of this study was to identify the effects of choline supplementation on body mass reduction and leptin levels among female taekwondo and judo athletes. Twenty-two female athletes (15 taekwondo and 7 judo athletes) were selected from different weight categories and divided into two groups, according to weight. The players in the experimental group took choline tablets for one week before a competition. The results revealed significant differences between pre- and post-competition measurements of leptin, free plasma choline, urine choline and urine malondialdehyde levels; body mass was also reduced in the post-competition measurements. In conclusion, choline supplementation could rapidly reduce body mass without any side effects on biochemical levels or static strength.
PMID: 25031675 PMCID: PMC4096089 DOI: 10.2478/hukin-2014-0009 [PubMed]