May 9, 2013
Videos of Researchers talking about Choline and Pregancyfiled under: Prenatal Choline News Prenatal Choline Research Study
May 9, 2013
Another Person's experience with Pregnancy Cholinefiled under: General Baby Health Personal Experience
"I am a former student of Tina Williams and Warren Meck at Duke University and Steve Zeisel [University of North Carolina] was on my dissertation committee. I ran across your website while looking for choline dosage recommendations during pregnancy.
When my wife was pregnant with our first child, I recommended lots of eggs and peanut butter. I also had my wife supplement with lecithin initially until we switched to choline bitartate. In the end she was getting 1.5 grams of choline a day, give or take. She kept this up (minus the peanut butter) through 1 year of breast feeding.
After 1 year, I did not supplement our son's diet with choline but a lot of our personal experience matches up with you describe: Full-term (he was induced against my better judgement); more alert; fast to become a good sleeper; low stress/anxiety response; fast to learn to walk (10 months); very good long-term memory (he can spontaneously remember things from 2 years ago at 4 years old).
We are now expecting our second child and the new research from Karen Stevens inspired me to see what was out there, and hence your blog. Thanks for the good compilation of information. I think I will try for a much higher level of choline this time as well as more post-natal choline."
January 15, 2013
Study Indicates that Moderate Prenatal Choline Doesn't Help Children's Brainsfiled under: Prenatal Choline Research Study
I communicated by email with the study PI (Primary Investigator) Steven Zeisel on this new study. He's been pretty vocal in the past with his students (his students have told me), recommending 1.5 grams+ per day of choline for human consumption during pregancy.
In this study he said his IRB would only allow the 750 mg dosing - so I guess he was hoping for it to be successful even at that lower level. Ultimately he didn't have a choice - since he couldn't proceed without his IRB's approval.
Unfortunately it was too low to see the beneficial impact on the brain. Now that another study (see study identified in posting below) has come out with a dosing of over 5 grams per day I hope that his IRB allows a higher dosing level.
Taking approximately 800 mg a day of choline during pregnancy does not improve babies' language and memory skills, according to a new study.
The results contrast with earlier studies in animals showing that a choline boost in utero improves rodents' performance on memory tasks.
Earlier studies have found that pregnant women with very low levels of choline in their diet have a higher chance of delivering a baby with a birth defect. And adults who eat a choline-rich diet perform better on memory tests
To see if adding extra choline during pregnancy can offer any benefits to babies, Zeisel and his colleagues asked 99 pregnant women to take six pills every day, beginning when they were 18 weeks pregnant and continuing until three months after the baby was born.
Fifty of the moms received fake pills containing corn oil, while 49 received pills with 833 milligrams (mg) of phosphatidylcholine, a form of choline.
The phosphatidylcholine pills added up to 750 mg of choline each day, the equivalent of 170 percent of the recommended level for pregnant women and 140 percent of the recommended daily amount for breastfeeding moms.
When the children were 10 and 12 months old, Zeisel's team gave them a battery of tests to measure short and long term memory, language skills and general development.
There were no differences between the two groups on any of the tests, the team reports in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
Marie Caudill, a professor at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, who was not involved in the current research, said the study was well conducted, but she offered a number of reasons that might explain the discrepancy between the animal studies and the current findings.
One possibility is that the babies were not tracked long enough to see any differences in their abilities.
"The animal studies demonstrated (that) supplementing the maternal diet with extra choline during pregnancy resulted in lasting beneficial effects on cognitive functioning in the adult offspring and prevented age-related cognitive decline," Caudill told Reuters Health by email.
Additionally, the type of choline used - phosphatidylcholine - might be less effective than choline itself. (Zeisel's group chose not to use choline because it can result in a fishy body odor.)
In addition, the tests may not be "sufficiently challenging," Caudill added.
Zeisel agreed that perhaps as children age and start to perform more complex mental processing, it might be easier to measure if a child has a deficit or a strength.
January 15, 2013
High Prenatal Choline May Prevent Schizophrenia / Mental Illness in Offspringfiled under: General Baby Health Prenatal Choline Research Study
This new study shows the potential for prenatal choline to significantly reduce the risk of mental illness in children. While this one study only focuses on schizophrenia, stress hormones during pregnancy (which choline reduces significantly) increases risk of all mental illness - so this approach likely will reduce the incidences of all mental illnesses. This is really big news.
Notice also the dosing in this study below - 3.6 grams in the morning, and 2.7 grams in the evening. Now that this study has come out, I would take supplements at this level.
University of Colorado researchers study choline in infants
AURORA, Colo. (Jan. 15, 2013) -- Choline, an essential nutrient similar to the B vitamin and found in foods such as liver, muscle meats, fish, nuts and eggs, when given as a dietary supplement in the last two trimesters of pregnancy and in early infancy, is showing a lower rate of physiological schizophrenic risk factors in infants 33 days old. The study breaks new ground both in its potentially therapeutic findings and in its strategy to target markers of schizophrenia long before the illness itself actually appears. Choline is also being studied for potential benefits in liver disease, including chronic hepatitis and cirrhosis, depression, memory loss, Alzheimer's disease and dementia, and certain types of seizures.
Robert Freedman, MD, professor and chairman of the Department of Psychiatry, University of Colorado School of Medicine and one of the study's authors and Editor of The American Journal of Psychiatry, points out, "Genes associated with schizophrenia are common, so prevention has to be applied to the entire population, and it has to be safe. Basic research indicates that choline supplementation during pregnancy facilitates cognitive functioning in offspring. Our finding that it ameliorates some of the pathophysiology associated with risk for schizophrenia now requires longer-term follow-up to assess whether it decreases risk for the later development of illness as well."
Normally, the brain responds fully to an initial clicking sound but inhibits its response to a second click that follows immediately. In schizophrenia patients, deficient inhibition is common and is related to poor sensory filtering and familial transmission of schizophrenia risk. Since schizophrenia does not usually appear until adolescence, this trait--measurable in infancy--was chosen to represent the illness.
Half the healthy pregnant women in this study took 3,600 milligrams of phosphatidylcholine each morning and 2,700 milligrams each evening; the other half took placebo. After delivery, their infants received 100 milligrams of phosphatidylcholine per day or placebo. Eighty-six percent of infants exposed to pre- and postnatal choline supplementation, compared to 43% of unexposed infants, inhibited the response to repeated sounds, as measured with EEG sensors placed on the baby's head during sleep.
The study will be published online by The American Journal of Psychiatry (AJP) at AJP in Advance, its online-ahead-of-print website. The research was funded by the Institute for Children's Mental Disorders, the Anschutz Family Foundation, and the National Institute of Mental Health.
September 5, 2012
Update on Second Child - Personal experience with Cholinefiled under: Choline Benefits Personal Experience
I buy whole wheat pancake mix from Trader Joes, add crushed walnuts, and miscellaneous other things I find around the kitchen (extra egg yolks, oat bran, flax, chia seeds, etc.) and a large amount of choline - that works out to about a gram of choline per pancake. I also add a lot of cinnamon powder, and vanilla extract - and you can hardly taste the choline when the pancakes are finished. Add a little low-sugar jam, etc. - and the kids love them.
Our second child is doing well, and recently passed the 24 month/ 2-year milestone. She is very conversationally fluent - I haven't counted the words - but perhaps in the range of 500 to 1,000 words in English, and perhaps half that in Chinese/Mandarin. She counts to 10 without a problem, and knows the alphabet (to say it, but not to identify the letters, which we haven't worked on at all.
Friends have commented both on the advanced verbal skills (talks a lot, in sentences), and on the advanced motor skills (runs, climbs and moves quickly and accurately) of our second child. Choline seems to be working well, and we are following an ongoing diet of 1 gram per day for children.