November 2007 Archives

November 23, 2007

Personal Prenatal / Pregnancy Choline Use Experience

filed under: Choline Benefits Personal Experience
One of the goals of this site is to document people's experiences with prenatal choline supplementation during pregnancy - and the results of such supplementation (good and bad). I'd like to cover the past experiences (where people have done it with pregnancies that have already been completed - with reports on how the children are doing), as well as where people are just starting their pregnancy. 

In my search for information on choline on the web, I came across this example of a person who had supplemented his and his wife's diet with methyl donor vitamins (choline, and B vitamins).

"Q: Before my wife and I had our child, I read a few studies on epigenetics, concentrating on studies dealing with dietary methyl donors. (Vitamins B6, B12, and Choline are very high methyl donors). We both took supplements before trying to get pregnant, and we both continued to take them while pregnant. When my daughter was born, she came out with blond hair and blue eyes, nothing like ours. All of her teachers have said that she learns extremely quickly compared to others and has a fantastic memory. Could our consuming simple nutrients have provided such physical and intellectual attributes?

Britt E., Little Rock, Arkansas

A: Choline supplementation during pregnancy in rats increases learning ability, enhances synaptic function, and offers protection from neurotoxicity (Li, Q., J. Neurophysiol. 91: 1545-1555, 2004). These effects of choline on neurological function most likely involve altered gene expression and associated changes in nerve cell growth and differentiation mediated by epigenetic changes, such as DNA methylation. Although the animal data on choline and hippocampal development are compelling, studies are needed to determine whether choline supplementation during pregnancy has the same effect in humans.

(For review see: The fetal origins of memory: the role of dietary choline in optimal brain development Zeisel, S.H., J. Pediatr. 149 [Suppl. 5]: S131-5136, 2006.) It is unknown if food supplements or epigenetic drug therapy in adulthood can reverse an epigenetically regulated negative effect on neural function in humans.

Source: PBS Nova Program