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X Fact
July 20, 2020
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Why Demand for Choline Is So High in Pregnancy

There is a dramatic increase in demand for choline in the 3rd trimester of pregnancy. This corresponds to the rapid expansion of neurodevelopment. Choline is needed to produce phosphatidylcholine and sphingomyelin, the main components of neural cell membranes and myelin. Choline is also the precursor for acetylcholine, a key neurotransmitter in synapses as well as an important regulator of neural growth. Finally, because it is the primary dietary source of methyl groups, choline plays a big role in the 'epigenetic' regulation of genes in the fetus that can have lasting effects throughout the lifespan.

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Words You May Not Know
Phosphatidylcholine
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Phosphatidylcholine

Any of a class of phospholipids that contain a choline group and are a major component of cell membranes.‍

Sphingomyelin
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Sphingomyelin

any of the class of phospholipids occurring chiefly in the brain and spinal cord, composed sphingosine, and a fatty acid

Phospholipid

Phospholipids are a class of lipids that are a major component of all cell membranes.

Myelin
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Myelin

:a mixture of proteins and phospholipids forming a whitish insulating sheath around many nerve fibers, increasing the speed at which impulses are conducted.Myelin: The fatty substance that covers and protects nerves. Myelin is a layered tissue that surrounds the nerve fibers (axons). This sheath around the axons acts like a conduit in an electrical system, ensuring that messages sent by axons are not lost en route.

Phospholipid

Phospholipids are a class of lipids that are a major component of all cell membranes.

Neurotransmitter
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Neurotransmitter

A chemical that is released from a nerve cell which thereby transmits an impulse from a nerve cell to another nerve, muscle, organ, or other tissue. A neurotransmitter is a messenger of neurologic information from one cell to another.

Synapse
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Synapse

Specialized area where a neuron contacts another cell. Synapses allow for chemical communication between neurons and other cells through the use of neurotransmitters. undefined

Neurotransmitter

A chemical that is released from a nerve cell which thereby transmits an impulse from a nerve cell to another nerve, muscle, organ, or other tissue. A neurotransmitter is a messenger of neurologic information from one cell to another.

Acetylcholine
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Acetylcholine

Neurotransmitter in the central and peripheral nervous systems. Acetylcholine is essential to the production of movement through acting at neuromuscular junctions in the peripheral nervous system. It also has a number of functions in the central nervous system, and is thought to be involved in attention, memory, and a variety of other processes. The adjective cholinergic is often used to describe structures and/or activity associated with acetylcholine.

Neurotransmitter

A chemical that is released from a nerve cell which thereby transmits an impulse from a nerve cell to another nerve, muscle, organ, or other tissue. A neurotransmitter is a messenger of neurologic information from one cell to another.

Who Wrote This
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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