Disclosure: This post was sponsored by VitaCholine. As always, I only collaborate with companies who align with my mission and who support evidence-based science.
Welcome back! That’s more for me than you as it has been way too long.
And while I’ve been away revamping the brand, enjoying the summer, and improving on all things ASKDRANGELA, what is it that has grabbed my attention and raised my brow? You guessed it. Choline.
Choline? No, this is NOT a typo. I did not mean to spell chlorine. It’s very natural for our minds to jump directly to chlorine being that it has been a helluva hot summer; especially here on the Jersey Shore. With all those hot days I’m sure that quite a few of us have spent time pool side trying to stay cool.
So why would I care about choline? I mean, why would THIS catch my eye? Let’s start with the fact that it’s an essential nutrient, meaning, either the body doesn’t make it, or if the body does make it, it’s NOT in sufficient amounts to meet intake needs. Hence, we obtain essential nutrients from outside sources like food. Essential nutrients are necessary in promoting growth, health, and disease prevention. Sorta sounds like my job description; Dr. Angela, an essential nutrient (LOL!)
As an obgyn, I provide care for women across the spectrum of their lives. This ranges from young girls dealing with the shock and nuances associated with a newly started menstrual cycle, to women pre-conception, and during pregnancy wondering what prenatal vitamin might be best not just for them but for baby.
Choline peaked my curiosity because of what it is and what it does. Choline provides something for women during ALL stages and phases of life and should be present from the very beginning. Choline, you see, is needed at even the most basic levels. Three of its most notable properties:
a) It’s a building block. As such, it is an integral part of cell composition, and function; specifically cell maintenance and genetic regulation.
b) It’s a messenger. Choline, as acetylcholine, plays a critical role in the messaging that occurs between muscles and brain cells. Can we see how this might be important regarding memory, endurance, performance, etc?
c) Metabolism. Choline plays a critical role in helping convert fats stored in the liver into energy.
Are we beginning to get a sense of why I might be excited about choline? Let’s start with the obvious. As a woman, who wouldn’t be interested in something that promotes wellness, memory, metabolism, and endurance? That in and of itself seems to cover a lot of what being a woman is all about. As busy as I am as a physician, mom and woman in general, I love anything that might be able to assist me in performing at my best; one of the reasons I’m an avid exerciser. I love to push my body to its limits. Being in top shape helps me to perform at my best. Now that I’ve learned all of these interesting facts about choline, I’m implementing it into my own regimen to see if I notice a difference (will keep you posted on that front).
A question I routinely receive from expectant moms or women who are trying to conceive is, “what prenatal vitamin is best for me?” I tell women that it’s the one that they tolerate the best; that gives them the least side effects.
More recently, I’ve also been encouraging women of childbearing age to look for a prenatal vitamin that contains choline. With all of the cellular development and turnover that occurs during pregnancy, one would think that something with choline, a critical part of cell composition, would be good, right? One can only imagine all of the messaging that occurs during fetal brain development. We’ve mentioned choline’s role in messaging; specifically as it pertains to brain and muscle function. And how about prevention of neural tube defects? Folic acid can’t take all the accolades for that. Choline plays an important role as well. In fact, the American Medical Association – the largest organization of physicians and medical students in the United States – recognizes that most prenatal vitamins contain 55 mg of choline or less and has vocally supported higher amounts.
I’m excited about choline and how it functions in our body. Unfortunately, despite choline’s well-established benefits, nine out of 10 Americans are not getting enough, and only about 8 percent of pregnant women currently meet their gender- and life-stage-specific needs for choline. I’m on a mission to help change that, and it’s why I’m energized about my recent discovery of this essential nutrient and what I feel it can offer to women – along with the general population – as we transition through various stages of life.
Now that I know more about choline, I’m going to make it a priority to incorporate it into my meals and snacks, in combination with a supplement. I’ll start with the obvious places; collard greens, Brussel sprouts, salmon, beef, poultry, eggs, etc. In general, a woman needs 550 mg of choline daily to sustain general wellness and support a healthy pregnancy. However, as illustrated by these menu models developed by the VitaCholine team, even when following a choline focused diet, it can be challenging to meet the daily choline recommendation of 550 mg.
So again, I ask: Got Choline? If the answer is still no, then go Get some! Together, let’s see what choline is all about. Click here to join the conversation!
Hoping this blog post has both informed and entertained.
Until next time,
Look Better. Feel Better. Be Better.
Wife, mother, Midwesterner, and award-winning OB/GYN, Dr. Angela is equal parts best girlfriend and bold professional, supporting women’s health with innovative approaches to care and heavy doses of humor. Dr. Angela has done more than launch a successful practice, she has defined herself as a voice for a new generation of womanhood, established her ASK DR. ANGELA brand committed to authenticity, and built a community rooted in trust, candor, and compassion.