Choline supplementation during pregnancy improves offspring information processing
In pregnant mothers entering the third trimester, choline supplementation of approximately twice the recommended amount improves information processing in the offspring, a recent randomized, double-blind, controlled feeding study has shown.
Researchers randomized 26 women entering the third trimester of pregnancy to receive either 480 (n=13) or 930 (n=13) mg of choline supplements per day. Cognitive tests were performed on 24 offspring at ages 4, 7, 10, and 13 months.
In the adjusted regression analysis, the mean saccade reaction time (RT) of offspring of mothers who took the 930-mg choline supplements was 33.8 (95 percent CI, 2.7–54.9) ms faster than those of mothers who took the 480-mg supplements. The difference was statistically significant (p=0.03).
Age was also related with mean saccade RT, which declined significantly with increasing age (p<0.0001) in both treatment groups. Moreover, each additional week of gestation led to an 18.3-ms reduction in mean saccade RT.
To determine whether gestational age was a proxy for the duration of choline exposure, a new adjusted model was constructed, which showed a significant effect of days of exposure (p=0.02), but not gestational age (p=0.3), on RT. The resulting estimated effect of choline was 51.3 ms.
As expected, infants produced more predictive saccades for the predictable stimulus sequence than for the unpredictable baseline sequence (p<0.0001), but maternal choline intake had no significant impact (p=0.6).
“The results of this controlled-feeding trial reveal significantly faster saccade RT, a measure of information processing speed, among infants born to mothers consuming the higher level of choline intake throughout their third trimester,” said researchers.