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Organic compound related to vitamins in its activity. It is important in metabolism as a component of the lipids that make up cell membranes and of acetylcholine. It is also important as a source of chemical raw materials for cells and in transport of fats from the liver. It is usually classified with the B vitamins (seevitamin B complex) because it resembles them in function and in its distribution in foods. In humans it is interconvertible with certain other compounds, such as methionine, so deficiency does not lead to disease, but some other animals need it in their diet. Choline has various uses in medicine, nutrition, and the processing of foods and feeds.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on choline, visit Britannica.com.