Inadequate Choline Intake in Pregnant Women in Germany.
Choline is an essential nutrient that is involved in various developmental processes during pregnancy. While the general adequate choline intake (AI) for adults has been set at 400 mg/day by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), an AI of 480 mg/day has been derived for pregnant women. To date, the choline intake of pregnant women in Germany has not been investigated yet. Therefore, in this survey, the total choline intake from dietary and supplementary sources in pregnant women was estimated using an online questionnaire. A total of 516 pregnant women participated in the survey, of which 283 met the inclusion criteria (13 to 41 weeks of gestational age, 19−45 years). 224 (79%) of the participants followed an omnivorous diet, 59 (21%) were vegetarian or vegan. Median choline intake was 260.4 (±141.4) mg/day, and only 19 women (7%) achieved the adequate choline intake. The median choline intake of omnivores was significantly higher than that of vegetarians/vegans (269.5 ± 141.5 mg/day vs. 205.2 ± 101.2 mg/day; p < 0.0001). 5% (13/283) of pregnant women took choline-containing dietary supplements. In these women, dietary supplements provided 19% of the total choline intake. Due to the importance of choline for the developmental processes during pregnancy, the study results prove the urgent need for an improved choline supply for pregnant women.