What is Choline, Anyway?

What is Choline, Anyway?

December 01, 2018

Choline is newly recognized as an essential nutrient.1 It is often grouped with the vitamin B complex due to its similar properties and functions.

Choline affects proper liver function, healthy brain development, muscle movement, the nervous system and metabolism, and more. It is necessary to maintain optimal human health. There is no doubt that Choline plays a critical role during fetal development. 

Unfortunately, every year in the United States, there are 3,000 pregnancies with neural tube defects such as spina bifida or anencephaly.2 Intake of choline during pregnancy may reduce the risk up to 72% of these devastating neural tube issues in babies.3,4 Choline has been shown to play an important role in fetal and infant brain development, affecting the sensitive areas that are responsible for memory and life-long learning ability.5In addition, science has shown that Choline taken as late as the second trimester was associated with better visual memory scores in children at age seven years old.6,7

The benefits of Choline do not stop there. In-depth research found that Choline might steer the infant brain away from mental health problems as they grow.8In fact, supplementing prenatal choline may be a nutritional strategy for lowering an infant’s vulnerability to stress-related illnesses, including mental health disturbances, hypertension and type 2 diabetes in later life.9

Pregnancy demands a level of 550 mg of choline per day and the same for lactating women. Many prenatal vitamins do not even contain choline. And getting enough Choline from foods (eggs, liver, meat) is unrealistic. It is almost always necessary to supplement the diet with Choline to help support a healthy pregnancy.10

 

 

 

1 Nutr Rev. 2009 Nov;67(11):615-23
2 CDC MMWR May 7, 2004 / 53(17);362-365
3 Epidemiology. 2009 Sep;20(5):714-9
4 Am J Epidemiol. 2004 Jul 15;160(2):102-9
5 J Am Coll Nutr. 2000 Oct;19(5 Suppl):528S-531S
6 Annu Rev Nutr. 2006;26:229-50
7 Am J Epidemiol. 2013 Jun 15;177(12):1338-47
8 Doi:10.1176/appi.ajp.2012.12070940
9 Doi:10.1096/fj.12-207894
10 The Choline Information Council




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