Food For Thought: Choline Essential nutrient 

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Choline is a nutrient that has recently gotten a lot of publicity as we are becoming more and more aware of common deficiency. According to the NHANES 1st 1,000 study, less than 9% of pregnant women meet their choline needs of 550mg daily. Deficiencies during pregnancy can have lasting effects on the unborn fetus.

Choline is an essential nutrient, this means that despite the presence in the liver, the body can not create choline making it essential to have in the diet. Choline is responsibility for cell membrane development and the transmission of neurotransmitter acetylcholine. This neurotransmitter is responsible for the function of memory, and muscle control. Deficiency during pregnancy can increase spinal cord defects.

While Breastmilk is usually a good source or Choline, not all formulas are. It is advised to check the choline amounts in your formula choice. 

Choline Needs

Adequate Intake Mg/D 

0-6 month – 125 mg

7-12 months – 150 mg

1-3 yr – 200 mg

4-8 yr – 250 mg

9-13 yr – 375 mg

14-18 yr Girls – 400 mg

14-18 yr Boys – 550 mg

Excellent sources of choline with averages of 200 mg or more includes eggs, salmon and liver. Food sources that offer over 50 mg per serving include Chicken, Almonds, Peanut butter and peanuts. Additional good food sources are broccoli, cauliflower and cows milk. 


  • Castle, Jill. Choline Essential for Pregnancy and beyond. 2017.
  • Brumfield, C. Sullivan, L. The First 1,000 Days Nourishing Americas Future. Washington DC 2016.