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.