Choline identified as one of the Key Nutrients during Pregnancy

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Its great to see that some of the more popular news publications is finally starting to cover choline as an extremely important nutrient during pregnancy.  Here is a recent story from US News and World Report:

" There are rock-star nutrients in the pregnancy world that tend to receive all the attention. Folic acid, iron, and calcium are covered extensively in pregnancy magazines, and they're easily part of the mom-to-be vernacular. Choline--a water-soluble nutrient in the B vitamin family--on the other hand, remains largely unknown for many pregnant moms. But based on recent research, it deserves to be elevated to rock-star nutrient status.

One reason choline is difficult to study is that it's related to brain development, and linking low choline in pregnancy to a lower IQ or a higher rate of depression later in life is tough to measure. How do you measure IQ potential? How do you know if depression could have been avoided, had the child received more of a particular nutrient during early brain development?"

The problem is that they are still getting the story wrong in the details.  In this particular story the writer warns:

"As with anything in life, too much of a good thing is no longer a good thing--it is possible to get too much choline, mainly from overdoing it with supplements. Choline toxicity can lead to a fishy body odor, vomiting, and decreased blood pressure."

This woman has done a little research - but misses out important details and on the big point.  The tolerable upper intake level recommended for pregnant women from 10 years ago was 3.5 grams of choline per day  - and there are no identified side effects for that level for either Lecithin-based choline or choline bitartrate. New studies are using 6 grams per day so that level is obviously also safe.   The "fishy odor" is specific to choline chloride - which nobody in their right mind is going to take, because it tastes terrible (I tried it). 

Here is a good reference if you're concerned about the side effects or safety of higher levels of choline during pregnancy:

http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/infocenter/othernuts/choline/index.html#safety

Anyway - the full article is here, but its still far from conveying the real benefits of choline at the higher levels of 3.5 to 6 grams per day.

Pregnant? Get Your Choline!

http://health.usnews.com/health-news/blogs/eat-run/2012/08/31/pregnant-get-your-choline







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