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Choline in pregnancy and breastfeeding 

Choline in pregnancy and breastfeeding
Choline in pregnancy and breastfeeding

Sir Peter Gluckman

, Mark Hanson

, Chong Yap Seng

, and Anne Bardsley

Page of

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date: 27 February 2021

Choline is required for the structural integrity of cell membranes and is involved in methyl-group metabolism, neurotransmission, transmembrane signalling, and lipid and cholesterol transport and metabolism. Choline is critical during fetal and neonatal life to ensure optimal brain and cognitive development. There is an intersection of the pathways of choline, folate, and vitamin B12 in the formation of methionine from homocysteine. Maternal peri-conceptional deficiency for choline, like folate, is associated with an increased risk of neural tube defects in the offspring. It is recommended that pregnant women do not restrict fat severely from their diets, as choline is derived from the lipid content of food. Strict vegetarian or vegan diets may be low in choline. The high secretion rate of choline into breast milk means that lactating women have a high demand, and multivitamins containing choline may be helpful for both pregnancy and breastfeeding.

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