In a folate-fortified population of women, low levels of choline raise the risk of neural tube defects, while higher levels are protective, research indicates.
The finding "may offer a useful clue toward understanding the complex etiologies of neural tube defects in an era of folic acid fortification of the food supply," the study team concludes in the September issue of Epidemiology.
"We know that supplementation of the food supply with folic acid appears to be an effective prevention tool, but also appears to be only part of the solution," first author Dr. Gary M. Shaw from Stanford University in California noted in an email to Reuters Health.
In a folate-fortified population in California, Dr. Shaw's group identified 80 pregnancies affected by neural tube defects and randomly selected 409 unaffected pregnancies. Maternal serum was tested for choline and other nutrients related to one-carbon metabolism.
"We observed elevated neural tube defect risks associated with lower levels of total choline, and reduced risks with higher levels of choline," they report.
Bonnie - every prenatal, like the one I recommend, should include choline.
Recommendations to increase folic acid intakes during the early stages of pregnancy may reduce mental and emotional health problems in children, says a new study. Dutch researchers report that the children of mothers who took folic acid supplements during pregnancy were better at internalizing and externalizing problems, compared to the children of mothers who did not take supplements, according to findings published in the British Journal of Nutrition.