June 2011 Archives

June 16, 2011

Choline Children at 13 Months and 2 years, 8 months

filed under: Choline Benefits Personal Experience
Our "high choline" children (3.5 grams of Choline per day during the last 20 weeks of pregnancy, and about 300mg per day of choline thereafter) seem to be developing well. Of course, with all the typical challenges -- of a 2 year old with their constant testing of the boundaries of good behavior, and a 13 month old who is constantly on the run exploring the world. 

Our first child is now 2 years and 8 months old - and began preschool about a month and a half ago (for only two days a week) - at a Chinese language immersion school.  We're one of the few parents where the child is entirely Caucasian (with no Chinese language ability in my wife and I) - but the teachers have been quite amazed at our child's Chinese language proficiency.  They said that she is far better than most children, and probably the most proficient Chinese speaker in her class - with only one other Chinese child close. 

Of course - I suspect this might sound better than it actually is - because if you're truly a Chinese family that speaks Chinese at home - you're probably not going to be sending your kid to a Chinese immersion preschool - because the kids will already know Chinese - and they'd be sending them to an English immersion school so that they learn English.  At the same time - it might be more surprising than that because our older child is also the best English speaker (vocabulary, pronunciation, understanding) among her peers, among exclusively English speaking kids.  Normally children who are learning two languages are delayed in both languages and only catch up much later in school, I've read - so it seems like it might be unusual that a child is ahead of all the other kids both in their native language (English in our case) and the second language also.  While I have no proof - I suspect that this might be the choline effect.

Our younger child seems to be progressing well too and is now 13 months old.  She started walking early and has continued to become a very strong walker - and when my wife's brother was in town the other week he noted that she was a stronger and more adept walker than his daughter who is 4 or 5 months older.  She is also quite a climber - she climbed up on our kitchen chair - and was going to then climb up on the kitchen table - before I stopped her.  Not a lot of fear with this kid either - as with the first child. Although, generally, the second child is a little more tentative around new things than the first child - who isn't frightened by much.

Language skills with our second child seems to be developing slightly more slowly than in our first child.  She has the typical "Momma, Dada", and Nana (her grandmother's preferred name from the children) and "Baba" (Chinese for father).  And she also has developed perhaps half a dozen quasi-words that she uses on a regular basis.  By "Quasi-words" what I mean are incompletely formed words - for the word "Duck" she just says "Du" (appearing not to be able to form the ending of the word).  "Fish" is "ish",   Book is "Boo.." but no "k" sound.  She knows the words - but doesn't seem to have the ability to say all the sounds. 

Our Chinese nanny continues to practice complete immersion with our second child, as we did with the first child - but given that the amount of time you have available when you have two child is significantly less than when you have only one.  This could be a factor in our second child learning language less quickly - an I have read that the second child generally is a few points (on average) lower IQ because of just this factor - you as parents or caretakers you just have a lot less time to dedicate to the second child compared to the first.

As a general note on the ongoing Choline intake of our children - I still feed our older child about 4 egg yolks (somes fortified with Lecithin at the level of 1 gram or so) in the form of an "egg yolk french toast" special that I mix up and give to her every few days.  Given that each egg has about 125 mg of Choline (I've read) - that means that our older child is probably averaging about 250mg to 400mg of choline a day.

We've also started giving one or two egg yolks a day to our younger child - in the form of egg yolk mixed up with organic plain yogurt - or about 175mg or so average per day. 

One thing I've noticed is that the Choline sleeplessness effect seems to be much less for our second child.  When we gave eggs with yogurt to our first child - it seemed to turbo charge him in a dose dependent way. If we gave him one egg yolk - he'd miss one nap, two egg yolks and he'd not need sleep all day, and with three egg yolks, he would stay up active and alert until 10pm at night.  It was a very dramatic difference.  It was actually kind of nice - because when we knew that we were going out to an event during the day and we wouldn't be able to accommodate the afternoon nap - we'd give our son some extra choline in the morning (an extra egg or two) and the day's activities would be uninterrupted and our son would enjoy the entire day without getting tired.

With the second child this isn't true to nearly the same degree.  If our second child gets two eggs - it might reduce the nap, but doesn't eliminate it, and there isn't a huge impact on higher dosages.  Not sure why this might be.

The only ideas I've had on why this difference might exist are: 

1.  I think I remember from the research that there are differences in terms of the impact of choline on male and females - where on one sex it has more of a pronounced impact on "activity levels" - so this may be what we've seen.

2. With our first child we had a much higher percentage of Choline Bitartrate that we used - perhaps 85% to 90% of the choline my wife took during pregnancy was of this type.  The rest was Lecithin with high levels (triple strength) Phosphatidyl Choline.  With the second child we balanced it very equally (purposefully) at 50% Choline Bitartrate and 50% Phosphatidyl Choline from Lecithin.  So I'm wondering if that might be a factor.  Probably something for the researchers to test and determine.

Anyway - thats it for now.


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