Catherine Adams Hutt: Hi! I am Catherine Adams Hut, Registered Dietician at Science and Nutrition Advisor to the Choline Information Council.
Choline was defined as an essential nutrient in 1998 by the Institute of Medicine. But the most recent dietary surveys show that most Americans, especially adolescents, adults and the elderly are not getting as much choline as scientist recommend. How much choline do you need? Well, according to the Institute of Medicine our adequate intake for choline is 550 mg/day for men, 425 mg/day for women, 450 mg/day for pregnant women and 550 mg/day for women who are lactating. The richest sources of choline are eggs, including the yolk and liver. Good sources include poultry, red meat and fish. Other sources include legumes like peanuts, soybeans and navy beans, nuts like almonds and dairy products including milk and yoghurt. Orange juice and vegetables can also be sources of choline in the diet. How do you get enough choline from foods? Well, to get 550 mg/day you would have to eat two eggs including the yolk, three ounces of cooked chicken, one half cup of cooked broccoli, one half cup of cooked Brussels sprouts, two cups of milk, one half cup of orange juice and three ounces of almonds. If you didnt choose to eat the eggs then you would have to eat an additional 9 ounces of cooked chicken of fish or two ounces of chicken or beef liver to replace them. If you are not sure that you are consuming enough choline you can add to your diet with a dietary supplement containing choline.
If you are pregnant or lactating you may want to be sure that the prenatal vitamin you are taking includes choline. Just look for choline on the label. Getting enough choline is important to your health. So here's to your good health.