Last week I had a chance to listen to a webinar sponsored by the Women’s Health Dietetic Practice Group of The Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics http://www.whdpg.org. The webinar was run by Liz Weiss MS, RDN , family meal and nutrition expert and Maria Caudill PhD, RD a choline researcher at Cornell University. The webinar focused on choline- a missing micronutrient most Americans are low on.
Since choline is not a vitamin or a mineral, it has been labeled as an essential micronutrient needed for heart, brain and liver health and too little choline can lead to a fatty liver. People at risk for choline deficiency are pregnant and lactating women, vegan and vegetarians as well as child bearing women in general.
Dr. Caudill mentioned that in her research she has found that we need double our choline intake as compared to what is recommended by the government. The adequate intake (AI) for choline has been set at 425 mg/d for women, 450 mg/d for pregnant women, 550 mg/d for lactating women and 550 mg/d for men.
Food sources of choline include eggs, beef, chicken, fish, certain seafood (salmon), toasted wheat germ, garbanzo beans, brussel sprouts and broccoli. Some multivitamins and prenatal vitamins contain choline, and certain packaged foods, such as infant formula, may be fortified with choline to boost intake. Foods with at least 55 mg of choline per serving are considered a “good source” of the nutrient.
Unfortunately many multi vitamins, do not contain choline so most Americans need a supplement if they do not eat foods highest in this nutrient. The bottom line is to pay attention to choline if your are pregnant and lactating or practicing a vegan or vegetarian die. For more information on choline- check out the following link: http://cholinecouncil.com/latest_information.