Dietary choline and betaine intakes and risk of cardiovascular diseases: review of epidemiological evidence

ARYA Atheroscler. Summer 2011;7(2):78-86.


Background: Cardiovascular diseases (CVD) are the most important causes of human mortality in the world. Higher intakes of choline and betaine have been shown to be associated with lower plasma homocysteine levels (the putative CVD risk factor). This study aimed to review the evidence on the association between dietary intakes of choline and betaine and traditional/novel CVD risk factors.

Methods: We searched in PubMed website from 1990 to 2009, with the use of following keywords: "dietary choline and betaine, cardiovascular diseases, metabolic syndrome, inflammation". The cross-sectional and prospective studies as well as the clinical trials were recruited in this investigation.

Results: Dietary intakes of "choline"/"choline and betaine" were not significantly associated with CVD risk; however, the higher intakes of choline and betaine were associated with higher serum concentrations of CRP, IL-6 and TNF-α. Individuals with high plasma choline levels were obese and had elevated plasma triglycerides, HDL and non-HDL cholesterol levels; whereas high plasma betaine levels were inversely associated with these biochemical markers. Both choline and betaine supplementation resulted in increased blood lipid profiles.

Conclusion: Although dietary intakes of choline and betaine were not significantly associated with CVD incidence, the long-term consumption of these nutrients have been shown to prevent CVD mortality by decreasing inflammation and other risk factors.

Keywords: Betaine; Cardiovascular Diseases; Choline; Inflammation.; Metabolic Syndrome.