New Hampton, NY —A new study suggests that the increased use of choline during pregnancy could make a child smarter.

According to research recently published in theJournal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology(The FASEB Journal), and conducted at Cornell University by Marie Caudill and her team, pregnant women need two times more choline than currently recommended, particularly in the last trimester, to achieve optimal cognitive benefits for their children.

The study included 26 women who were entering their third trimester of pregnancy, and continued for 12 weeks or through their delivery.  They followed the same 2,100-calorie diet and were split into two groups, one that took 480 mg of choline daily and one that received 930 mg of choline.  All of them used supplemental choline provided by Balchem.

Nutrient intake, including vitamin B12, folic acid and vitamin B6, all of which can play complementary roles to choline in metabolism, were also studied.

The researchers then evaluated the newborns’ memory, information processing speed and visual attention span at 4, 7, 10 and 13 months of age.  The infants whose mothers consumed the greater amount of choline experienced higher information processing speeds at all ages.

Studies show that while the Adequate Intake (AI) of choline during pregnancy is 450 mg per day, less than 10% of pregnant women are taking this amount. Further research shows that pregnant women actually consume 319 mg of choline per day, which is just 70% of the AI and less than two-thirds of the control group’s 480mg daily intake in the Cornell study.

Choline is a key component in various molecules that strengthen cell membranes, form neurotransmitters, and help nerve cells communicate with one another. The American Medical Association (AMA) recently recommended that choline be included in all prenatal multivitamins as a result of the clear science and demonstrated benefits.

“The growing body of science, along with the newly established Reference Daily Intake (RDI) of 550mg and the recent AMA endorsement, make it clear that increasing awareness of and access to choline for pregnant women is a priority,” said Tom Druke, Director of VitaCholine Brand Development, Balchem Human Nutrition and Pharma. “We are proud to have provided VitaCholine as the supplemental choline source for this important study and we continue to invest in clinical research showing how important choline is to good health, particularly during the first 1000 days of life when the demand is so high and the benefits so substantial.”