Did you know that choline is just as important as taking B vitamins, especially in pregnancy? As I learn more about vital nutrients in pregnancy, I realize generic multi vitamins sold in stores may not have all the important nutrients or if they do, they may not have the recommended amount. Most prenatal vitamins do not contain choline.
Choline is a water soluble compound similar to B vitamins that is vital for fetal development of the brain and nervous system. It even helps transport DHA across the placenta, which is an omega 3 fatty acid also important for the development of baby’s brain and nervous system. A couple studies show that choline deficiency can result in elevated levels of homocysteine which can affect lifelong memory and cause birth defects such as spina bifida, (a neural tube defect).
There are certain genetic mutations of the MTHFR and MTHFD1 genes that involves methylation and production of phosphatidylcholine, which is the fatty layer that makes up our cell membranes. Women with these mutations may need to supplement with not only methylated B vitamins but choline as well to support these pathways.
On average women should be taking in about 450mg of choline daily, but during pregnancy and lactation women may be doubled, up to 900mg daily. Main foods sources are eggs and animal meats. These foods should be minimized in someone with the MTHFR mutation.
For those consuming a plant based lifestyle, choline is found in: broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, tofu, beans, legumes, nuts, seeds, and shiitake mushrooms. Pregnant women may need to supplement with extra choline.
Does your prenatal have choline?
Are you are getting enough choline from your food?
I definitely recommend seeing a Functional Medicine practitioner to check your Vitamin B12, folate, and homocysteine levels, and genetic testing, to ensure a healthy, nourishing pregnancy for you and the baby! Also please share with anyone who would find benefit from this.
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