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Americans Deficient In Dietary Intake Of Choline Needed for Fetal Brain Development

Women in US are not getting ample amounts of a nutrient that is essential for the promotion of normal fetal brain development.//

A new study sponsored by the National Institute of Health, that has been conducted by three of the top universities in America has suggested that the women in US aren’t getting sufficient amounts of a nutrient, which is required to promote normal fetal brain development.

According to the government health officials ‘Choline’, which is a nutrient essential for human brain development, normal memory function, fertility, and, which is thought to be particularly important during pregnancy, is required to be consumed as 425 milligrams for women and 550 milligrams men daily. But the researchers found in their study that an average American consumes just 314 milligrams of choline each day that is far less than the amount recommended.

Soy lecithin, beef liver and egg yolks, are some of the foodstuffs that are rich in choline. Soy lecithin is also considered as one of the most bioactive and natural sources of the nutrient, which has no cholesterol or saturated fat.

The researchers had explained that they faced difficulty in accurately estimating the per capita choline intake, as the food composition database was only recently made available to the research community. The researchers explained in their research to have studied the diets of around 2,000 subjects by comparing them with the data from a food frequency questionnaire against a new choline database by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Steven H. Zeisel, M.D., one of the researchers, said, “Our research suggests the typical American diet is lower in choline than recommended.” He further added “When corrected for energy intake, daily choline levels were significantly below the recommended daily intake for both men and women. Although we cannot be sure from this study, Americans may not understand the importance of choline in their diets, or may not know which foods are rich in the nutrient.”

In a poll conducted in August among the adults in US, it was claimed that public are confused about Choline. According to the poll most of the Americans seem not to know as to how much choline they consume each day and do not understand its role in the human diet. It was stated that almost three-quarters of the people on whom the poll was conducted did not understand or seem to as to what function choline plays in a person's diet. The results shoed that only 14% claimed to knew how much of the nutrient they consume in a day, while the respondents over the age of 65 and between the ages of 25 to 34 were least able to estimate their daily intake.

Nutritionist Greg Paul, Ph.D., is of the opinion that the choline consumption would improve if more food manufacturers followed a recent Food and Drug Administration ruling to advertise sources of choline that are ‘Good’ or ‘Excellent’ on package labels. Paul said, “The small amount of choline found in most of today's processed foods makes it difficult for the average consumer to meet the nutrient's recommended daily intake.”

He further mentioning, “In 2001, the FDA ruled that food manufacturers could make certain claims about choline on product packages. Increasing the amount of choline in processed foods and better promoting those products that are good or excellent sources of choline are positive steps to help address this public health issue, “ He said that one of the easiest and a very cost-effective way to boost the choline levels in processed foods is to add extra amounts of soybean lecithin, which is a naturally occurring emulsifier that has for long been used as a functional food ingredient.

The study, ‘Choline Awareness in America’, was conducted by the Opinion Research Corporation's CARAVAN? on 1020 adults of the ages 18 and older between August 24 and 27, 2006, nationally. The possibility of the findings t o have a error margin of plus or minus 3 percentage points at the 95% confidence level was also stated.


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