Is Choline another 'Nutrient of Concern'?

Summary and perspective

The mounting evidence of choline’s importance makes it essential that it does not continue to be overlooked in the UK. This is now more important than ever given that accelerated food trends towards plant-based diets/ veganism could have further ramifications on choline intake/status. Government bodies and organisations should look to extended datasets to include this essential nutrient. So far, looking at the evidence-base we know that:

► Choline is a critical nutrient needed for neurocognition, lipid metabolism, liver function and homocysteine regulation.

► The majority of Europeans, American, Canadian and Australian populations are not meeting choline AI recommendations.

► Eggs, milk and meat appear to be major dietary providers and further movements away from the
consumption of these could have unintended consequences for choline intake/status.

► Ongoing nutrition research must study ‘long-term’ intakes of choline e.g. using food frequency questionnaires rather than 24-hour recalls, which will give a more reliable picture of choline intakes.

► More needs to be done to educate health care professionals and consumers about the importance of a choline-rich diet and how to achieve this.

► If choline is not obtained in the levels needed from dietary sources per se then supplementation strategies will be required, especially in relation to key stages of the life-cycle such as pregnancy, when choline intakes are critical to infant development.