By extrapolation from the muscle weakness and fatigue seen in children with genetic defects of carnitine biosynthesis or metabolism, it has been assumedthat supplementary carnitine mayhave aperformance-enhancing or ergogenic action, and supplements are commonly taken by athletes and bodybuilders. There is little evidence that supplements have any effect on muscle work output. Although supplements increase plasma carnitine, they do not significantly increase the muscle content (Brass, 2000).
Choline is an essential component of phospholipids - phosphatidylcholine (lecithin) is the major phospholipid in cell membranes and sphingomyelin is important in the nervous system. Acetylcholine is a transmitter in the central and parasympathetic nervous systems and at neuromuscular junctions, and has a role in the regulation of differentiation and development of the nervous system (Biagioni et al., 2000). Acetylcholine is also synthesized in mononuclear lymphocytes, where it has an autocrine or paracrine role in regulating immune function (Fujii and Kawashima, 2001).
In addition to being used as a trivial name for phosphatidylcholine, the name lecithin is used for phospholipid fractions relatively rich in phospha-tidylcholine, which are widely used as emulsifying agents in food manufacture (E-322). Such preparations typically contain some 40% to 80% phosphatidylcholine, together with a variety of other phospholipids.
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