Choline in pregnancy affects sustained attention in children

choline, giving its full name phosphatidylcholine, is a natural essential nutrient necessary for cell membranes and the synthesis of many chemical messengers in the body. Specifically, it participates in the synthesis of fatty substances that are located between the skin cells and that allow the skin barrier to hold together as well as the skin barrier Liver detoxification Avoiding the accumulation of cholesterol and fats from food in the body. Finally, at the level of the nervous system, choline is involved in the synthesis of certain neurotransmitters such as acetylcholine. During pregnancy, a deficiency leads to developmental disorders of the child’s brain, which can have serious and lasting consequences.

In some countries, a Choline Supplement is systematically prescribed to pregnant and breastfeeding women: this is the case, for example, particularly in the United States, but not in France, as the specialist journal Vidal explains on the subject. This has been shown by several decades of scientific research on rodents add choline Supplementing a pregnant woman promotes long-term cognitive benefits for her unborn child. In particular, his attention span and memory throughout his life, and that’s what the researchers wanted to check. from Cornell University (USA) in a recent study published by the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) in their journal.

“Cognitive and neuroprotective benefits” have already been demonstrated in animals

The scientific team started from the observation that choline, which is found in egg yolks, lean red meat, fish, poultry, legumes, nuts, and cruciferous vegetables, is absent from most prenatal vitamins given to pregnant women. In fact, the majority of them probably are not consuming enough large quantity. In this study, all participants took a diet prepared with a certain amount of choline throughout the third trimester of pregnancy. Half were consuming 480 mg choline per day, slightly above the US recommended reasonable intake of 450 mg/day. The other half used up 930 mg choline per day, that’s about twice that recommendation.

Tests followed children of these participants Seven years later. The results showed that the children of women who consumed 480 mg/day choline during their third trimester performed less well than children of women on sustained attention during a task to women children while consuming 930 mg/day, which maintained a high level of accuracy throughout this task. “By demonstrating that maternal choline supplementation produces similar benefits in offspring in humans as in animals, our results suggest a broad range of benefits cognitive and neuroprotective that have been demonstrated in rodents can also be observed in humans. ‘ say the researchers.

Improved sustained attention, significant cognitive ability

The latter had already shown in an earlier study that maternal choline supplementation was possible improve processing speed Information during the first year of life in the same children. To date, little human research has evaluated the effects of maternal choline supplementation, and this is the first study to follow suit children up to school age. “By showing that the beneficial effects of prenatal choline supplementation persist into infancy, these results illustrate its role in programming the child’s cognitive development. The ability to maintain sustained attention in difficult situations is essential to almost every area of ​​life. performance cognitive. ‘ concludes the scientific team.

However, note that there are precautions to be taken. with choline in the form of food supplements. Thus, Vidal specifies that in people suffering from liver problems or trimethylaminuria (a genetic disease), “choline intake gives urine, sweat and breath a rotten fish smell”. take choline is also not recommended for people with depression or Parkinson’s disease to avoid possible worsening of symptoms. Regarding pregnant and breastfeeding women, the report recalls the importance of discussing possible treatment with their doctor. based on choline, but never resort to it alone without medical supervision.

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