Yup, you read that right. There is an essential nutrient you more than likely are missing out on. You were told to take your prenatal vitamins and folic acid but did you know that your body also needs choline?
What is Choline and the Benefits?
Choline is similar to a B-vitamin and is considered essential to our diet. When a nutrient is *essential* it means that our bodies don’t make it, or enough in choline’s case, for our needs. Choline plays a lot of different important roles for us and our babes including:
- Growth and development of your baby (pregnant and while nursing)
- Brain and nervous system function
- Cell membrane support
- DNA production
- Fat transportation
- Regulation of mood
In fact, Cornell University has done some research recently regarding the role of choline supplementation during pregnancy and lactation. Their studies found that a dose of choline that is twice the daily recommended amount correlated to significantly faster information processing speeds. Even those with choline supplementation to the recommended daily dose say cognitive benefits in their offspring.
There are still many studies being conducted and am so excited to see how nutrition can play an impactful role in our children’s lives before they are even born.
About 90% of individuals are consuming less choline than they need every day. Even with standard prenatal vitamins, moms are not getting sufficient choline. Choline is unfortunately not found in most prenatal vitamins. If your vitamin does contain added choline it is likely not to the appropriate amount needed on a daily basis. In 2017, the American Medical Association (AMA) House of Delegates recommended choline be added to prenatal vitamins.
Recommended Daily Intakes:
- 450 mg during pregnancy (AI amount)
- 550 mg during lactation (AI amount)
- 930 mg supplemented during pregnancy in Cornell University study
Choline is found a variety of foods but most of these foods tend to be offenders for most pregnant women’s morning sickness. Supplements in the form of choline bitartrate are one of the better forms containing the most choline for the dose. (more bang for your buck ;))
- 1 cup wheat germ = 202 mg
- 1 large egg (containing the yolk) = 147 mg
- 3 ounces lean beef = 97 mg
- 3 ounces salmon = 75 mg
- 3 ounces chicken breast = 73 mg
- 3 ounces cod = 71 mg
- 1 cup brussel sprouts = 63 mg
- 1 cup cooked broccoli = 63 mg
- 8 ounces skim milk = 38 mg
- 2 tablespoons peanut butter = 20 mg
You can see that while food does contain choline, you may still need to add a choline supplement routine if you are not consuming enough servings of these foods each day. I personally like to opt for a mix of choline-rich foods and a smaller choline supplement to help balance out what I may be missing in my diet.
I leave you with a link to a BONUS recipe – Sheet Pan Eggs. Super simple, super delicious, and less time standing over the stove.