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August 13, 2020
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What Does the American Civil War Have to Do with Choline?

Nothing, but while the North and South faced each other at Manassas in the Second Battle of Bull Run (Aug 1862) in the new world, chemists in the old world were using new tools to explore and characterize various tissues and body fluids. Adolf Strecker (1822-1871) was one such pioneering German scientist who was trying to determine the composition of bile from a bull. In 1862 he found a chemical that was rich in nitrogen and he named it choline (bile = 'chole' in Greek). Bile is rich in lecithin, which is the name that was first given to the phospholipid found in bile that contains choline, phosphatidylcholine.

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Words You May Not Know
Lecithin
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Lecithin

Any of a group of phospholipids, occurring in animal and plant tissues and egg yolk, composed of units of choline, phosphoric acid, fatty acids, and glycerol. a commercial form of this substance, obtained chiefly from soybeans, corn, and egg yolk, used in foods, cosmetics, and inks.

Phosphatidylcholine
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Phosphatidylcholine

Any of a class of phospholipids that contain a choline group and are a major component of cell membranes.‍

Phospholipid
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Phospholipid

Phospholipids are a class of lipids that are a major component of all cell membranes.

Bile
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Bile

A bitter, alkaline, yellow or greenish liquid, secreted by the liver, that aids in absorption and digestion, especially of fats.

Who Wrote This
Jonathan Bortz MD
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Jonathan’s background as a practicing diabetes specialist for 15 years and 17-year career developing nutritional prescriptive products for the pharmaceutical industry has contributed to his ability to understand nutrients, how they work and why they are important.

Over the years he has acquired broad and in-depth knowledge in minerals, essential fatty acids and other nutrients, but has special expertise in Vitamin B12 and choline metabolism. He is often asked to speak at national and international venues to articulate why B12, folate and choline are so important to gene function, brain development, liver and cardiovascular health. He applies pharmaceutical standards to nutrient science and has developed a unique ability to translate complicated concepts into simple promotional messages that resonate with practitioners and consumers. He has developed dozens of innovative nutritional products, of which many are category leaders in the US. Jonathan obtained his medical degree from the University of the Witwatersrand Medical School in South Africa and did his fellowship in Endocrinology at Washington University in St. Louis, MO.

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