Choline is a vital nutrient found in eggs, dairy and meat.Yet not many people are getting enough of it, according to researchers.
According to data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (US), close to 90 per cent of children, adults and pregnant women do not get enough of this nutrient. It is important as the brain and nervous system require it to regulate important functions such as memory, mood, and muscle control. Choline also helps to form the membranes that surround the body’s cells.
“Choline is transported to the fetus in utero. It’s an important nutrient because it’s involved in the development of the brain and spinal cord. Shortfalls could impact the cognitive development of children after they’re born,” study author Emma Derbyshire, BSc, PhD, RNutr, told a news portal.
“The concept that the body will adapt is somewhat of a myth,” Derbyshire told a news portal. Adding, “Choline can be likened to omega-3 fatty acids in that it is an ‘essential’ nutrient that needs to be obtained from dietary or supplemental sources, as the body doesn’t produce enough to meet human requirements.”
A recent study found many pregnant women do not get the daily requirement of this nutrient. “At the present time, the American Academy of Pediatrics has included choline among the critical nutrients that support brain growth in the first 1,000 days of a child’s life. In other words, life in utero plus the first 2 years of life,” Dr Praveen S. Goday, professor of pediatric gastroenterology and nutrition at the Medical College of Wisconsin, told a news portal. Adding, “There is a concern that failure to provide key nutrients such as choline during this critical period of brain development may result in lifelong deficits in brain function despite subsequent nutrient repletion.”
Derbyshire urges people to be more mindful about their health and provide their bodies with the proper nutrition. “The general population should think about whether they are obtaining some of the major dietary choline providers, such as meat, milk, and eggs. If these are not being consumed, then supplementation strategies will be required,” Derbyshire told a news portal. Adding, “This becomes particularly important at key life stages, such as pregnancy and postpartum if breastfeeding, when choline is critical to fetal and infant development."
The findings were published in BMJ addresses.
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