December 2011 Archives

December 28, 2011

Questions about personal experience with choline pregnancy supplementation

filed under: Choline Benefits Personal Experience
Here is an email I received about a month ago - and my response:

While I was looking through some of your posts in your website I was hoping to ask you a few questions about your personal experience with choline supplementation.  Firstly, why did you decide to go almost exclusively with a salt such as choline bitartrate for your first child vs phosphatidylcholine or choline from lecithin.  It looks as though you decided at some point to change this with your second child and go about half with a salt and half with a phospholipid.  I was perhaps wondering if you still feel one vs the other is better in terms of potential benefits during pregnancy and specifically for the child.  I understand the different bioavailability of the two, but was hoping for your thoughts on other specific mechanisms, (side effects on pregnant female, potency, cost, bioavailability, etc).  Also, you must forgive me it has been a while since I took my college biology courses and biochemistry, but were you concerned with a possibility of over-methylation during gestation?  I most definitely feel there is a huge advantage to choline, folic acid, and other methyl donors but always want to be vigilant in determining risk vs benefit of a particular amount of supplement.  Accordingly did you supplement with 3500 mg of choline bitartrate, yielding approximately, 1400 mg of choline, or was the total amount of choline 3500 mg? 

And also I am assuming this amount is based on a daily regimen of 3 times a normal daily intake of approximately 400-500 mg.  Also if you don't mind my asking what type and/or brand of prenatal vitamin did your wife use pre, peri and post gestation?  And lastly, given the same circumstances would you do anything different specifically (and non-specifically) with the choline supplementation for your children?

My email reply:

Regarding this "why did you decide to go almost exclusively with a salt such as choline bitartrate for your first child vs phosphatidylcholine or choline from lecithin.  It looks as though you decided at some point to change this with your second child and go about half with a salt and half with a phospholipid.  I was perhaps wondering if you still feel one vs the other is better in terms of potential benefits during pregnancy and specifically for the child"

There is some research on high levels of lecithin being bad for child development - you can find it in http://pubmed.org - it was done back in the 80s - and at high levels - like 15 grams/day.  That scared me off the high Lecithin diet - but then with the second pregnancy I decided to try a balanced approach - 50% each.   There is no real research data to validate either strategy.  Our first child seems to be developing at a faster rate than the second - but that could be due to other factors like a close pregnancy (18 months between births) or stress of having the second child while taking care of the first, and/or my wife getting the flu at the end of the first trimester on the second child.  So - its hard to say. We experienced no problems of any kind during the pregnancy or after with the 3.5 Grams/day. Both children started walking at 9 months, both children are advanced for their age - but the first child is much, much more advanced for his age.

In all my calculations I'm calculating the actual amount of choline in the supplement (e.g. in this tablet we used

http://www.iherb.com/Nature-s-Way-Choline-500-mg-Bitartrate-100-Tablets/1877?at=0

I calculated 500mg for each tablet - so we might take 7 of these, and this Lecithin (triple strength) at

http://www.iherb.com/Now-Foods-Lecithin-1200-mg-200-Softgels/658?at=0

at 1.14 grams per three capsules - so around 9 or 10 capsules to reach 3.5 grams.

During age 6 months to 3 years - I've tried to average about 300 to 400 mg for the children - primiarly via egg yolks (egg yolk omletes, egg yolks mixed with yogurt when they are age 6 months to 1 year), and then egg yolk French toast, etc. mixed with Lecithin ). 

admin (at) cholinebaby.com
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December 28, 2011

Choline during Pregnancy - How much? When?

filed under: Choline Benefits Personal Experience
I received this email a few weeks ago:

Hi,

I'm a little confused by when the choline is required. I know entirely throughout pregnancy would be optimal, however I have also come across some information that says only in the third trimester. What is your experience/knowledge with this? I am currently 24 weeks pregnant and have been able to have eggs on and off.

Thanks,
Lisa

My Response was:

Hi Lisa,

The most important time for prenatal choline supplementation seems to be the last 20 weeks of pregnancy - and this is when it seems to have the largest impact on intelligence.  But its also important to have it for the year following - during breast feeding. 

"Nuances in choline action are showing up. By narrowing the window of prenatal supplementation, Williams and others have identified only two small periods during which extra choline boosts a rat's intelligence. The first is from days 12 to 17 in gestation. This correlates roughly with the second half of a human pregnancy. The other window runs from 2 to 4 weeks after birth - a period that corresponds loosely with human infancy and toddlerhood."  source: Science News Online, Week of Nov. 3, 2001; Vol. 160, No. 18



We supplemented with 1 grams of choline per day during the first half of the pregnancy (and on average 2 to 4 egg yolks per day), and then around 3 grams (it's a lot of choline) during the last 20 weeks.  We supplemented with both Choline Bitartrate and triple strength lecithin. In one child we used more Lecithin (perhaps 75% lecithin, and the other child we split it 50%/50% Soy Lecithin-based choline, and Choline Bitartrate.

Hope that helps,

admin (at) cholinebaby.com



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December 28, 2011

Questions from Readers about Choline, Pregnancy, Children and Lecithin

filed under: Choline Risks Personal Experience
I just got the following email question to me about possible issues around children and choline.  Here is the email message:

I am wondering whether you have researched these. The pediatrician told us not to give our son more than 1 egg per day, and mayo clinic agrees with this. The problem is the yolk, one yolk has the equivalent of max cholesterol level that one can take per day. The risk is serious heart diseases from clogged arteries later in life. I also looked into soy lecithin as a source of choline, and what worries me is that soy (and thus soy lecithin) is laden with female hormones. There are some research articles indicating that the hormones in soy can lead to early puberty in females, and later puberty in males, along with the potential health consequences. 

Please let me know your thoughts and/or finding. Also if there are any good sources of choline that is not from egg yolk or soy lecithin, I'll be interested to learn about it. Thanks! 

Juliana

Here is my response:

Hi Juliana,

I have done some research on those topics.  First of all - the research on high choline levels suggests that it only helps if it is delivered during pregnancy, and during the first 2 to 3 years of life.  So if your son is older than that - the research suggests that there won't be any impact on memory.

With regard to phyto-estrogens in Lecithin - the studies I've seen have indicated that there are no measurable phyto-estrogens in Lecithin - here are some studies that I've looked at:

http://69.164.208.4/files/Dietary%20Phytoestrogens,%20Including%20Isoflavones,%20Lignans,%20and%20Coumestrol,%20in%20Nonvitamin,%20Nonmineral%20Supplements%20.pdf

There was another I looked at also - but I can't find it quickly.  Generally I search on http://pubmed.org for all the latest research.

But I just found this - which is interesting - which suggests we might want to be careful with any children's food:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21801783

So - perhaps many children's foods have soy estrogens. 

With regard to cholesterol levels - I believe that any guidelines for children are only relevant to children over the age of 2 years, so I haven't really put much emphasis on them.  Here is an example of this:

http://www.webmd.com/cholesterol-management/guide/high-cholesterol-children

http://www.extension.iastate.edu/publications/ncr431.pdf

We've been using only eggs yolks and soy-lecithin for our children and it seems fine.  Children doing extremely well so far.  Of course - that doesn't mean that there might not be problems, and there haven't been any long term tests - so its reasonable to be cautious.

We use this Soy Lecithin product:

http://www.iherb.com/Now-Foods-Lecithin-Granules-1-lb-454-g/303?at=0

and mix it into oatmeal, etc.

 Hope that is helpful,

admin (at) cholinebaby.com






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