Choline is an essential nutrient, with important roles during development. Human milk is the preferred dietary source for infants. Majority of choline in human milk is in water-soluble forms (84%), including free choline, phosphocholine, and glycerophosphocholine. However, our current knowledge in the contribution of water-soluble cholines towards choline nutrition in infancy is limited to a few studies. Further, the importance of water-soluble cholines in infant nutrition remains to be addressed. The objectives of this study were to determine the content of water-soluble cholines in human milk and to assess its contribution towards the adequacy of choline nutrition in infants.
This was a cross-sectional study. At 2-months postpartum, milk samples were collected from 314 women, and water-soluble cholines were analyzed by liquid-chromatography tandem mass-spectrometry. Choline recommendation intake for 0-6 months is 125 mg/d, with water-soluble forms providing 105 mg/d. Daily choline intake in infants was estimated using DRI’s reference milk consumption of 780 ml/d.
The concentration of free choline, phosphocholine, and glycerophosphocholine in human milk were 155±90, 536±208, and 416±155 µmol/L, respectively. The concentration of total water-soluble cholines was 1108±303 µmol/L, which provides 90 mg/d. Whereas, only 59 milk samples (19%) have the content of total water-soluble choline above the estimated 105 mg/d for adequate intake for 0-6 months’ infants.
The estimated daily choline intake of infants from water-soluble choline forms was below the recommendation for 0-6 months’ infants. A better understanding of the different forms of choline in the diet may provide important information for choline intake recommendation in infancy.