Women should pay special attention to their diet during pregnancy. The body needs additional vitamins, minerals, and nutrients due to the increased workload on each internal organ and the increase in blood volume.
Almost everyone knows about the importance of magnesium, iron, and calcium for the body during the period of bearing a child. It is important to get other substances, such as choline, for the fetus to develop properly. Gynecologists emphasize the extreme importance of this organic compound for the female body during pregnancy and lactation.
Choline is involved in various physiological processes according to research. It maintains the correct structure of cells and is included in the process of formation of the neural tube of the fetus. It transforms into the child’s brain and spinal cord.
Is it safe to take choline during pregnancy?
Choline is an essential nutrient needed by the expectant mother and developing fetus during pregnancy. Reception of a trace element is safe during the period of bearing a baby. The substance contains fat-soluble and water-soluble compounds that the body absorbs differently depending on the form.
Fat-soluble choline often comes from dietary sources and is readily absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract. The water-soluble choline is easily absorbed by the liver and then converted into a fat called lecithin. Dosed use of a substance (without exceeding the recommended norm) cannot harm a woman and a baby.
Impact of choline on the body
Choline is a nutrient found in many foods. It is also classified as vitamin B4. The brain and nervous system need it to regulate memory, mood, muscle control, and other functions. The substance contributes to the formation of membranes surrounding the cells of the human body.
Vitamin deficiency is experienced by people who do not consume animal products, adhere to strict diets and play sports. It is especially important to increase the use of the substance in the elderly and pregnant women. Choline has a positive effect on the functioning of the body.
- Vitamin B4 prevents the deformation of cell walls
- Responsible for DNA synthesis: Choline, vitamin B12, and folic acid help in a process important for DNA synthesis
- Promotes the growth of the placenta and the formation of additional blood
- Choline regulates the functioning of the muscular system and is responsible for its ability to regenerate
- Takes part in the proper functioning of the lungs and improves respiratory function
- Responsible for the formation and functioning of certain parts of the brain, it can improve memory functions
- Promotes the transport of fat and its metabolism in the liver. Quickly restores damaged liver cells
- Helps to regulate the level of insulin hormone in the blood
- Slows down cell aging and stimulates tissue repair
- Lowers the concentration of cholesterol in the blood
Choline helps synthesize enzymes that lower homocysteine levels. Excess levels of homocysteine provoke Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, and coronary heart disease.
Did you need more choline during pregnancy?
A sufficient amount of choline is necessary for the daily diet of every woman. The substance has a beneficial effect on women’s health and prevents the formation of breast cancer. It is recommended to increase the intake of choline during pregnancy since the fetus takes some of it from the mother’s body.
The daily allowance of choline for women is 425 mg. It is necessary to increase the vitamin content to 450 mg and 550 mg for pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers. The baby in the womb consumes choline through the placenta. Vitamin B4 enters the baby’s body with breast milk during breastfeeding.
Physicians have for many years focused primarily on folic acid to support fetal neural tube development. Recent observational studies show that choline is equally important for the development of the nervous system, brain, spinal cord, and spine.
How does choline affect a child’s cognitive abilities?
Scientists at Cornell University conducted a study on the effect of choline on the cognitive abilities of infants. The results showed an increase in concentration and memory development above peers whose mothers received insufficient amounts of vitamin B4. The substance is responsible for the formation of neural connections in the brain.
The more neural connections that arose during fetal development, the better the child’s memory will be developed. This Cornell University experiment showed that women can contribute to the development of the brain and cognitive functions of a child. You should eat more foods high in choline during pregnancy for this.
How to get the right amount of choline?
A high concentration of choline is found in animal products and vegetables. People with different taste habits can establish a diet with a sufficient content of the substance. Foods high in choline are not in short supply in most countries.
The highest concentration of choline is found in raw egg yolk. The substance is partially destroyed by cooking. People who consume several eggs a day can replenish the daily supply of the element. An increased concentration of B4 is found in beef liver, shrimp, skim milk, legumes, green vegetables, peanuts, pistachios, ginger, and garlic.
Amount of Choline in Common Foods per 1 LB:
|Raw Egg Yolk
|Whole Chicken Egg
Can an excess of choline be formed in the body?
Excess choline in the human body is extremely rare. Vitamin B4 is water soluble and is rapidly excreted from the body through sweat and urine. The maximum allowable rate of choline is 3500 mg per day. It is difficult to achieve such a concentration of the substance. It is possible to sharply increase the content of choline with the uncontrolled intake of a synthetic additive.
A person may experience nausea, often accompanied by vomiting and diarrhea if the body contains an excessive concentration of choline. Symptoms of a choline overdose are excessive sweating, fishy body odor, drowsiness, and low blood pressure. Constantly exceeding the norm of taking choline threatens the formation of cardiovascular diseases.
Choline deficiency during pregnancy
Properly organized healthy nutrition allows you to fully replenish the concentration of choline necessary for the health of the mother and the development of the fetus. Pregnant women feel a deficiency of the substance in some cases. The consequence of this condition may be a way of life, adherence to strict diets, and refusal of certain foods.
The main signs of acute choline deficiency:
- Irascibility, irritability, headaches, tinnitus
- Malfunctions of the heart and circulatory system
- Mental disorders
- Memory impairment and problems with concentration
- Increased muscle tone
- Sleep disturbance and the formation of insomnia
- Kidney and liver problems
- Strengthening the action of adverse stress factors
Why isn’t choline included in prenatal vitamins?
Multivitamins for pregnant women often do not contain choline. This is because the substance can be found in a wide range of available foods. It’s best to adjust your diet or take natural choline supplements while planning your pregnancy.
The formation of the neural tube of the fetus (which will turn into the spinal cord and brain) occurs in the first weeks after conception. The woman may not yet know about the pregnancy. Choline is consumed to an increased extent during this period. The norm of vitamin B4 is important for the development of the fetus from the first trimester of pregnancy.
A gynecologist may prescribe a multivitamin or a one-component choline supplement for metabolic disorders. To increase the absorption of vitamin B4, it is recommended to take it together with folic acid, vitamin C, vitamins A, B-6, B-12, D-3, iodine, and calcium.