Larissa Telfer Dietitian
A recent study in Australia women of reproductive aged showed less than 1 per cent of women are meeting the current recommended intake of Choline. You are not alone if you have never heard of this nutrient which is required for all adults for memory, mood and muscle control and other brain and nervous system functions.
What is choline?
An essential nutrient that exists in multiple forms in the body. Our liver can produce choline however this is not enough to meet our needs. We require sources of choline from the food we eat, making it an essential nutrient.
Choline has many functions in our body:
Role in early life nutrition
Choline is required for normal development of the neural tube, with inadequate intake of choline being linked to increased risk of neural tube defects. Choline also plays a role in maintaining the health of the placenta and nutrient transport from mum to the baby in the womb.
High intakes of choline in the 3rd trimester of pregnancy has been shown to improve information processing and brain function in children.
After birth, infants require higher levels of choline to support the rapid growth and development that occurs in the early years. Choline levels in newborns have been shown to be 6-7 times higher than that in adulthood.
Despite the growing research about the importance of adequate choline in pregnancy and early life, most Australian pregnancy supplements don’t contain choline.
What foods is a good source of choline?
Animal products contain higher levels of choline, people following vegetarian and vegan diets are more likely to contain inadequate choline.
If you want to check you are eating enough choline, Larissa or your local Nutrition Plus Dietitian will be able to support you with making sure you are getting enough choline.