Choline is the precursor of phosphatidylcholine, acetylcholine, and betaine, therefore playing important roles in child development. Current dietary recommendation for choline was established for total choline. However, dietary choline is present in different forms, including free choline, phosphocholine, glycerophosphocholine, phosphatidylcholine, and sphingomyelin. The objective of this study was to investigate the influence of different forms of dietary choline in choline status in children.
This was a cross-sectional study. Dietary information and blood samples were collected from children of 1, 2, and 5 years old (n = 500 subjects). Dietary choline intakes were estimated using US Department of Agriculture database, and plasma choline, as the indicator for choline status, was determined using liquid-chromatography tandem mass-spectrometry.
Total choline intake was 187 ± 70, 201 ± 63, 307 ± 106 mg/d for children of 1, 2, and 5 years old, respectively. The mean for choline intakes were above the recommendation for each age group. Phosphatidylcholine was the major form of choline consumed in the diet. Plasma free choline was 10.4 ± 3.3, 8.5 ± 2.3, 8.6 ± 2.1 µmol/L for children of 1, 2, and 5 years old, respectively. Phosphatidylcholine and total choline intakes were positively associated with plasma free choline only in the 5 years old group (r=0.17, p<0.05), but not in 1 and 2 years old groups.
Dietary choline intake was associated with <3% of the variability in plasma free choline in the children studied. Overall, findings from this study emphasize the needs for further investigation of the relationship between choline intake and choline status during early infancy.