Sunday, March 11, 2007

Choline helps with prenatal alcohol exposure

Choline given after birth improves learning and behavior in rats exposed to alcohol during development EurekAlert 2/28/07 "Giving choline to infants who were exposed in the womb to alcohol may mitigate some of the resulting problems...research led by Jennifer Thomas, PhD, is using an animal model to assess the potential therapeutic value of choline...Choline plays a number of roles in brain development. It is also a precursor to acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter involved in learning and cognition, among other functions. Choline is available in many foods, such as eggs and liver, and sold over the counter in well-tolerated forms such as lecithin, choline bitartrate or chloride, and phosphatidylcholine. Due to choline’s beneficial effects on nervous-system development, women are advised to consume 450 mg a day while pregnant and 550 mg a day while breast feeding (the tolerable upper limit has been set at 3.5 g per day). For infants, 125-150 mg/day is considered adequate during the first year, rising as the child grows older. Choline is added to some prenatal vitamins and baby formulas, and is now added to some children’s multivitamins and cereals...The current study of 170 rats found that giving choline to rat pups exposed to alcohol during the equivalent of the third trimester, when there’s a spurt in brain growth, significantly reduced the severity of alcohol-related over-activity and spatial learning deficits. The benefits lasted months after choline treatment, suggesting that choline’s effects are long-lasting...can alter brain development following a developmental insult. Early dietary interventions may reduce the severity of some fetal alcohol effects, even when administered after birth..."

Taking choline during pregnancy has also been associated with boosting intelligence and memory of children.

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