Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Another study showing the benefit of choline for pregnancy

When I first got pregnant, I wanted to know what I supposed to eat to grow the healthiest baby possible. Luckily, right before I conceived, I spoke at the 2009 American Egg Board's Annual Meeting in Chicago and got the chance to learn the benefits of choline for a healthy and smart baby.

Choline is not an essential nutrient technically because your body can make it on it's own. However, you need much more than your body can make both for your own brain health and your baby's.

Recently, Science Daily news published a summary of a recent scientific investigation showing more evidence for the importance of choline in pregnancy.

In summary: a new research study published in the January 2010 print issue of the FASEB Journal by a team of University of North Carolina researchers shows that choline plays a critical role in helping fetal brains develop regions associated with memory.

"Our study in mice indicates that the diet of a pregnant mother, especially choline in that diet, can change the epigenetic switches that control brain development in the fetus," said Steven Zeisel, the senior scientist involved in the work and a senior member of the FASEB Journal's editorial board. "Understanding more about how diet modifies our genes could be very important for assuring optimal development."

To read the rest of the story click here.

Although the title of this story is, "Finally, an excuse for pregnant women to eat bacon and eggs", which I think is just silly because why the heck CAN'T a pregnant women eat bacon and eggs in the first place? Because of the fat? Oh yes, that's right... fat is bad and it's going to kill us. Give me a break.

In any matter, egg yolks are one of the richest sources of choline a mother can get in her diet. Each yolk contains ~125 mg of choline, where the recommended dose of choline for women (humans) is at least 450 mg per day. This is why I recommended pregnant women eat two eggs a day in a blog post I wrote July 2009.

Other than the benefits for your child's memory and brain development, choline is also necessary to help prevent any neural tube defects in a growing fetus - yes, even with adequate folic acid in the diet.

So, sure, you can eat bacon (nitrite free would be best), but don't forget about those eggs and their yolks! It'll help you produce a little baby Einstein... and who wouldn't love a child that could pay their own way through college due to amazing brain power? Heck, I would!

For more information on choline, check out these reports:

Choline, the new essential nutrient

Eggs: a good choice for moms to be

Sources of choline


UofMWolverine81 said...


I'm curious as to how you generally tend to prepare your eggs and/or what you know as far as preparation methods for minimizing the damaging of the nutrients present in the yolks (if that even comes into play unless cooking the heck out of them on high heat).

It seems like the topic of preparation methods and it's positive, neutral, or negative impacts on certain nutrients in certain foods is a very complex topic, and it is certainly an area where I always feel like I am flying blindly.

When it come to cooking my eggs, I generally cook them sunny side up on low heat using some coconut oil. I take them off of the burner before the yolk has "set"/when it is still "runny". It just so happens that I don't mind eating them this way, but I was just wondering if how you cook them factors in much, since I may eventually feel like mixing things up a bit.

Thank you for sharing more info on choline, and I hope all is well!

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed reading your article, I found it quite fascinating. To be honest this was the first I had heard of choline. I guess it isn’t mainstream and getting the same exposure as some of the other supplements and health products for pregnant women. There is so much for pregnant women to learn, it can be overwhelming. You have provided great information. Thanks again.

Cassandra Forsythe said...

Hi UofM

Honestly, I've never learned that cooking harms any of the nutrients in the yolks. However, I don't overcook my eggs either. If you do that, they turn to rubber anyhow. I just scramble them until they're cooked, but only take a few mins to do this.

Thanks for your comments too! :)

Anonymous said...

Great info. I eat a lot of eggs and wondered how much folic acid is in one egg...