You may want to increase your choline intake before, during and after pregnancy.
New research is showing that babies born from mothers that had high choline intakes during pregnancy had lower circulating cortisol (aka, stress hormone). This is leading researchers to believe that the lower production of cortisol in "choline babies" may reduce the risk of stress related diseases. Essentially, babies who respond less to stress inducers could over their lifetime experience less hypertension, obesity, diabetes and depression.
It may also increase their memory, learning and attention. An increase in choline also increases the amount of circulating DHA which is required for brain development.
Higher maternal choline intake also improves infant information processing speed, and a cognitive assessment in these children at age 7 also reveal a lasting benefit of the higher maternal choline intake in their attention, memory and problem solving.
Higher intake pre-pregnancy and during early pregnancy can help reduce the risk of neural tube defects. Large amounts are needed during pregnancy because every time a cell divides, choline is needed to develop the cell walls.
Even if you're not expecting, choline is essential for memory and attention, and is needed for the synthesis of VLDL which helps prevent the accumulation of fat in the liver. If you have elevated liver enzymes, you may have a choline deficient diet.
So, how do you get choline? Why, focus on the food of course!
If you're planning on getting pregnant, you need to focus on choline at least three months prior to conception (the same as you would with folate). Most pre-natal and multi's will not have sufficient choline for your needs.
Not sure where to start to increase your choline intake? You know where to find me!