Choline is an essential nutrient needed for health promotion and disease prevention in individuals of all ages. It is essential for many of life’s most basic functions including the normal functioning of all of the body’s cells, brain and nerve function, liver metabolism and the transportation of nutrients throughout the body.
Choline is especially important for pregnant and breastfeeding women. It has been shown to help with brain and memory development in the fetus and newborn infant and can even help reduce the risk of certain birth defects. Visit For Moms & Moms-To-Be for more information on the benefits of choline for these special populations.
Dietary choline has also been linked to reduced risk of dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, cardiovascular disease and a 24 percent reduced risk of breast cancer. Visit Choline Overview for more information on the many benefits of eating foods rich in choline.
Research shows that choline intakes for children, men, women and pregnant women are far below the recommended Adequate Intake (AI) levels. Only 10 percent or less of these populations are consuming close to the recommended amounts of choline, and additional research suggests that these recommended amounts may themselves be inadequate. Consumer research has shown that almost three out of every four moms (74 percent) are not at all familiar with the benefits of choline and that 78 percent of moms do not know food sources of choline.
Knowledge and awareness about choline among health professionals is low as well. A survey of dietitians and doctors found that familiarity with choline was ranked below that of many other vitamins and minerals. When ranking how familiar they were with choline, only 10 percent of the practitioners surveyed indicated they were moderately familiar with this essential nutrient.
Eating foods naturally rich in choline is the best way to get the recommended amount of choline. Choline is found in foods such as beef and chicken liver, egg yolk, soybeans, beef, milk and peanuts.
The Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine recommends that Americans get the following amount of dietary choline each day:
Adequate Intake (AI) of Choline
|Women (≥ 19 years of age)||425 milligrams|
|Pregnant Women (14-50 years of age)||450 milligrams|
|Breastfeeding Women (14-50 years of age)||550 milligrams|
|Men (≥ 19 years of age)||550 milligrams|
|Children ages (1-3 years of age)||200 milligrams|
|Children ages (4-8 years of age)||250 milligrams|