Episode 14

Folate's Long-Lost Cousin: Choline

Ep 14: Image Folate's Long-Lost Cousin: Choline

Episode 14: Folate’s Long-Lost Cousin: Choline

Choline falls into the B family of vitamins, though it doesn’t have a “b” name like b12, b9, etc.

More about choline:

Choline in mom:
  • builds cell membranes
  • supports nerve function
  • DNA synthesis
  • cell messaging
  • fat transport and 
  • metabolism in mom
Choline for baby
  • Builds the nervous system
  • Brain development, especially the hippocampus and memory health
  • Placental health
Choline has also been shown to positively impact life-long gene expression.

Choline works in tandem with omega-3 fat, DHA and enhances how DHA is incorporated into the cells.  

Choline rich foods tend to also be high in DHA

Risks of not enough choline:
  • 94% of pregnany women in the USA do not consume enough choline.
  • Deficiencies are clearly linked to neural tube defects & cleft palate.
  • Optimal choline levels are linked to prevention of preeclampsia! 
Our bodies do not produce enough choline for essential functions, therefore we must get it through diet (or supplementation if Vegan).


Current research shows the amount of choline consumed in pregnancy should be closer to 930 mg per day.

For women with MTHFR gene mutation, choline needs to be substantially higher than 450 mg.  

Real Foods with Choline:
Note:  animal products are 3 oz serving, plant products are 1 cup servings

Whole Eggs, 1 egg 147 mg
Organ Meat, 359 mg
Caviar, 3oz contains 285 mg
Fish,  tuna, cod and salmon, contain 187 mg
Shiitake Mushrooms, 116 mg per 1 cup serving 
Soybeans, 1 cup, 214 mg
Beef, 115 mg, 
Wheat Germ, 153 mg
Turkey and Chicken, 72 mg
Cruciferous Vegetables: 1 Cup of cauliflower contains 72 mg, Broccoli 30 mg 

Sourcing of eggs from pasture-raised chickens:

Vitamin A is 30% higher
Vitamin E is double 
Omega 3 content is 2.5x higher
Omega 6 are found in lower by half (a very good thing for reducing inflammation
Vitamin D is 3-6x higher

Additionally, organic farms have salmonella rates 7x lower than commercial egg farms.

You are 8x more likely to get food poisoning from produce than eggs, please eat eggs often if you can.


  • If you eat an omnivorous diet, it is not difficult to get the minimum 450 mg of choline from food.  And it wouldn’t take too much intention to get the 930mg
Ex: 3 scrambled eggs with 1 cup roasted cauliflower + 1 oz of almonds = 528mg Lunch: Salmon, edamame + rice = 401mg 

  • If you eat a vegan diet, you want to be taking a supplement that contains enough choline bitartrate that gets you above the threshold of 450 mg per day and closer to 930 mg per day

  • Do not use standard pregnancy dietary information.  These diets are insufficient in prevention of disease in mom and baby and come with not only risks to your desire for a natural birth or VBAC, they also have life long impacts on the health of your baby.
The standard recommendations do not lead to pregnancy, birth, infant or life-long health.  

So what should you do for your pregnacy nutrition?

Join me in Sage Motherhood Mentorship.  I’m shortening the learning curve of a whole foods approach to health and offering specific information for pregnancy and lactation.  

You deserve the best and so does your little one.   You won’t get it from the standard of care.  Check out The Road Not Taken: my masterclass on taking a different approach to birth, and why it’s an uphill battle to get a natural birth in the hospital. 

Then, join me inside Sage Motherhood Mentorship and see the difference of a childbearing year supported holistically.  

Real Food for Pregnancy, Lily Nichols
National Institutes for Health
Information courtesy of Stefanie Melo