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X Fact
January 10, 2022
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Choline: Rectifying An "In-Adequate" Intake (IAI) for Pregnancy

40 years of animal research has established that maternal choline intake plays a critical role in developmental programming of fetal brain with long term consequences for offspring throughout life. In 1998, an Adequate Intake (AI) of 450mg/day was established for pregnant women, but this was extrapolated from the amount needed in men to prevent liver dysfunction (550mg). Stated another way, the amount of choline being recommended to pregnant women has never been tested or established in humans, and certainly not the amount required to fully support neurodevelopment.

Until now, that is.

In a study published on December 28th, 2021, researchers at Cornell University, Ithaca NY studied whether 480mg (≅AI) and twice the AI (930mg) maternal choline intake in the third trimester of pregnancy would offer any of the benefits seen in animal models. The women were all were given a controlled diet containing 380mg of choline and then randomized to receive either 100mg or 550mg Vitacholine® (Balchem Corp, New Hampton NY) to make up the AI and 2X AI. When the children born to these women turned seven (7), many were brought back and subjected to intensive neurocognitive testing. The results were dramatic.

Of twenty children studied at age 7, those born to the mothers who received twice the AI for maternal choline achieved a superior Sustained Attention Test (SAT) score, were more accurate in responding to visual signal recognition "percentage hits" and were able to sustain their accuracy for the duration of the 12 minute test, when compared with the children whose mothers received the AI choline intake. These results were statistically significant and indicate for the first time that the higher intake of maternal choline has enduring effects for the child.

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Adequate Intake (AI)
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Adequate Intake (AI)

In the judgment of the Standing Committee on the Scientific Evaluation of Dietary Reference Intakes, the AI is expected to meet or exceed the amount needed to maintain a defined nutritional state or criterion of adequacy in essentially all members of a specific apparently healthy population.

Who Wrote This X Fact
Jonathan Bortz MD
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Jonathan’s background as a practicing diabetes specialist for 15 years and 17-year career developing nutritional prescriptive products for the pharmaceutical industry has contributed to his ability to understand nutrients, how they work and why they are important.

Over the years he has acquired broad and in-depth knowledge in minerals, essential fatty acids and other nutrients, but has special expertise in Vitamin B12 and choline metabolism. He is often asked to speak at national and international venues to articulate why B12, folate and choline are so important to gene function, brain development, liver and cardiovascular health. He applies pharmaceutical standards to nutrient science and has developed a unique ability to translate complicated concepts into simple promotional messages that resonate with practitioners and consumers. He has developed dozens of innovative nutritional products, of which many are category leaders in the US. Jonathan obtained his medical degree from the University of the Witwatersrand Medical School in South Africa and did his fellowship in Endocrinology at Washington University in St. Louis, MO.

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