Interesting synopsis from the UK
Emma Derbyshire. Could we be overlooking a potential choline crisis in the United Kingdom? BMJ Nutrition, Prevention & Health, 2019; bmjnph-2019-000037 DOI: 10.1136/bmjnph-2019-000037
Choline is an ‘essential’ nutrient for humans; and similar to omega-3 fatty acids, as the amount produced endogenously (in the liver) is not sufficient to meet human requirements,6 it therefore needs to be obtained from dietary and supplement sources. Physiologically, choline is critical for a number of functions across the life cycle which include wide-ranging roles in human metabolism from neurotransmitter synthesis to cell structure and methylation, with choline deficiency being linked to liver disease, offspring cognitive function and potential neurological disorders.7 8
Food sources and changing trends
It is well appreciated that animal foods contain more choline per unit weight than plant sources.22 In general, beef, eggs, fish, chicken, nuts, milk and certain plant foods such as cruciferous broccoli provide some dietary choline.23 Other examples of food sources providing choline and the amount per 100 g are shown in figure 1. Relevantly, European research24 has shown that habitual choline intakes are, on average, below the AI established in 1998 by the IOM, and that meat, milk, eggs, grains and their derived products were the predominant sources of dietary choline.