Choline Supplements in Pregnancy Improve the memory of Offspring

18 April 2016  |  Editor

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Choline Supplements in Pregnancy Improve the memory of Offspring

A Spanish study has shown how supplementing with the B vitamin choline during pregnancy leads to offspring with a better memory.

A research team from the University of Granada compared the offspring of rats who were either supplemented with or deprived of choline during pregnancy, plus a control group on a standard diet.

Once the offspring had reached adulthood, they were given a memory retention test, and found that those whose mothers had been given the extra choline were much better than the control group at recognising an object they had been shown 48 hours previously. Those with choline-deprived mothers did not recognise the object at all.

Choline has a number of roles in the body, including conversion to the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, to play a communication role in both the brain and in the muscles.

The body’s first priority for choline is brain cells, so if choline is deficient, cell membrane phospholipids elsewhere in the body are sacrificed to free up more choline for the brain.

Choline is available as a food supplement in several forms, including phosphatidyl choline in lecithin, and choline bitartrate. Both are available in powder form.

Also in the recent science press are the results of a study showing that deficiency in EPA and DHA, the omega 3s found in fish oil and krill oil, may lead to memory problems, anxiety, hyperactivity and learning problems in adolescent offspring.

We are seeing more and more how important it is not just to increase calories during pregnancy, but also how important the quality of diet and nutrition is for the long term physical and mental health of the child.

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