Study Title:

USDA Database for the Choline Content of Common Foods Release Two.

Study Abstract

Research has shown that choline is important for the synthesis of phospholipids in cell membranes, methyl metabolism, acetylcholine synthesis, and cholinergic neurotransmission in humans (1). Betaine, a choline derivative, is also important because of its role in the donation of methyl groups to homocysteine to form methionine (2). Folate and choline are metabolically interrelated (1). Diminished folate availability increases demand for choline as a methyl donor while decreased choline availability increases demand for folate methyl groups (3). Zeisel and colleagues, have shown that healthy males fed a choline deficient diet, with normal folate and vitamin B12 intake, became choline depleted and developed liver steatosis and liver damage that resolved when a source of dietary choline was provided (4). In 1999, at an NIH sponsored workshop on trimethylaminuria, it was estimated that as much as one percent of the U.S. population may suffer from a genetic defect in the flavin-containing monooxygenase 3 gene, FM03, leading to development of a fishy body odor because patients or people who are affected accumulate trimethylamine (5-7). A choline restricted diet would be beneficial for this group of people as it diminishes body odor. In 1998, the Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine established dietary recommendations for choline intake, estimating an Adequate Intake (AI) at 550 mg per day for men and 425 mg per day for women. However, little data were available on the choline content of foods from which dietary intake levels could be calculated. Therefore, a choline database has been developed which provides researchers and consumers with the means to estimate choline intake from common foods. The collaborators for the database are the Nutrient Data Laboratory (NDL) of the US Department of Agriculture, Beltsville, MD and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, NC. This release contains about 630 food items. It replaces Release One, which was issued in March 2004.

Study Information

Prepared by Kristine Y. Patterson, Seema A. Bhagwat, Juhi R. Williams, Juliette C. Howe, and Joanne M. Holden

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