Leveling the Playing Field with Choline.
A recent editorial published in the Schizophrenia Bulletin (Oxford University Press) dropped a bombshell that should not be ignored. Researchers from the University of Colorado and their collaborators discussed their work over the past decade to study the relationship between prenatal choline and poorer outcomes of pregnancy including the development of mental illness in later life. The group designed a study to have participants self-identify as African American and found that when compared with women who identified as White from the same neighborhoods, socio-economic status, education and similar prenatal care, the African American women were more likely to have pre-term deliveries. Furthermore, the lower the maternal choline concentrations in pregnancy, the earlier the preterm delivery.
There is a lot to unpack from this study, and the reasons for the lower choline concentrations amongst African Americans does not have a clearcut and simple explanation, but the study points to a strong reason for early choline supplementation in pregnancy, just as folic acid supplementation has become synonymous with good prenatal care. Low maternal choline levels is significantly associated with fetal neurodevelopment in all populations but the authors are sounding a warning that the offspring of African Americans could be particularly at risk ".... beginning with lower gestational age at birth."