In addition to a daily prenatal vitamin and a daily prenatal DHA supplement, I also recommend a daily prenatal choline supplement. Another option is to get prenatal vitamins with choline. What is choline and what are the best prenatal choline supplements to take? Today I am sharing with you why you should be taking choline during pregnancy and which ones I recommend as the best prenatal choline supplements.
What is Choline?
Choline is a macronutrient found in foods. It is essential in fetal brain development. Sounds important doesn’t it? Choline is a precursor to acetylcholine. Acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter that sends signals in the brain. Acetylcholine, and therefore choline, are important for memory, muscle control and brain function.
Consuming adequate levels of choline during pregnancy is essential to ensure normal fetal brain development.
How Much Choline do You Need?
According to the Institute of Medicine, pregnant women should consume at least 450mg of Choline per day. Furthermore, breastfeeding women should consume at least 550mg of Choline per day. Most people do not consume this much choline. Although Choline is present in many different foods it is present in fairly low quantities. According to the National Institute of Heath, the average woman consumes 278mg of choline per day. Furthermore, 90-95% of pregnant women are deficient in choline.
What Foods contain Choline?
Most dietary choline comes from animal sources. My favorite source of choline is eggs. One egg contains 147mg of choline. Most of the time you are consuming at least 2 eggs, and that is more than 50% of your recommended daily choline intake right there. Most of the other foods high in choline are meat products such as beef, chicken and fish. However, it is possible to find choline in vegetarian sources. Soybeans, for example contain 107mg of choline in half a cup and 1 cup of cooked quinoa contains 43mg of choline.
Best Prenatal Choline Supplements
As you can tell, it takes a lot of quinoa to add up to 450mg. You may want to consider choline supplements during pregnancy to ensure that you are getting enough choline for your baby. Unlike some other supplements, there is no data to prove that one source of supplemental choline is better than another. So you really can’t go wrong with any prenatal choline supplement. Below are my recommendations for the best prenatal choline supplements.
I love this brand because it has 550mg of choline, which is enough if you are pregnant or breastfeeding! The choline is derived from yeast so the supplement is vegan. It is also specifically indicated for pregnancy and breastfeeding women, unlike some of the other supplements on the market. The one disadvantage to this supplement is that you need to take 2 tablets to get 550mg. So the price comes to $0.42 per day.
This supplement must be new to Amazon because it only has 2 reviews. However, it does contain 500mg per tablet. It contains gelatin so it is not vegetarian friendly. Each bottle contains 30 tablets so the supplement comes to $0.43/day and there is a promotion right now. The discount is buy one get one free. You need to add 2 bottles to your cart and one bottle is free at checkout. This makes it $0.22/day, which is a great price.
This is the supplement I take. Each capsule contains 350mg of choline. I chose this supplement because I normally do get some dietary choline, so I didn’t feel I needed the full daily recommendation in my supplement. I like the Solgar brand because they use glass bottles and I try to avoid plastic whenever possible. These capsules are also vegetarian. Each bottle contains 100 capsules bringing the price to $0.12/day.
How Much Choline is too Much?
The safe upper limit of choline is 3500mg. It would require a ton of choline to even get near this upper limit. Signs of excessive choline intake include a fishy body odor, vomiting and excessive sweating.