Low Blood Serum Choline Concentrations Are Associated With High Anxiety

Despite its importance in the central nervous system, most of the research on choline has been limited to its role in improving intelligence and memory. A 2009 study in Norway has found that reduced choline levels are associated with anxiety.

Researchers at the Haukeland University Hospital in Bergen, Norway examined the association between plasma choline concentrations and scores of anxiety and depression symptoms in a large, general population sample, as part of the Hordaland Health Study. The study included both sexes and two age groups of 46–49 and 70–74 years of age. All participants had valid information on plasma choline concentrations and symptoms of anxiety and depression, as measured by the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale.

Choline concentrations were negatively associated with anxiety symptoms but not with depression symptoms. And the lower the choline concentrations, the higher the anxiety.1

Choline is a water-soluble fatty acid that is part of the Vitamin B complex. Together with B5, it is a precursor for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, and improves memory by increasing the amount of this chemical in the brain. Choline has been shown to improve memory and intelligence performance by normal, healthy people in a wide variety of mental exams.

It is interesting to note that vitamin B5 is particularly important for coping with stress. Taking a combination of choline and B5 could be beneficial in helping reduce anxiety and stress.


  1. Bjelland I, Tell GS, Vollset SE, Konstantinova S, Ueland PM.Am J Clin Nutr 90: 1056-1060, 2009. First published August 5, 2009; doi:10.3945/ajcn.2009.27493 American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, doi:10.3945/ajcn.2009.27493 Vol. 90, No. 4, 1056-1060, October 2009.