Brain food

Don’t stop at fuelling your body for peak performance – you need to feed your brain, too.

by Sarah Ivory

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The messenger - Choline


Despite evidence to the contrary on the Christmas-party dancefloor, your legs don’t have a mind of their own. When running, they rely on the brain sending acetylcholine demands via nerve cells to the muscles. But without choline, your body can’t produce this essential chemical messenger. And research published in the International Journal of Sports Medicine shows that blood choline levels drop by as much as 40 per cent in the latter miles of a marathon. Consequently, scientists say that low choline could contribute to long-distance fatigue.


Mikolap recommends starting with 100-250mg of choline in your meal in the hours before training, and gradually increasing this to 500mg. ‘Some might experience headaches with increased choline dosage,’ explains Mikolap. ‘So start with one or two hard-boiled eggs [125mg each] and build up to a slice of pan-fried beef liver, which offers 339mg.’

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