Water-soluble choline content in human milk and its contribution towards the adequacy of dietary choline intake in infants

Abstract Number Theme Presentation Type Cover Approved
0533 Assessment of micronutrients in breastmilk Poster Not Approved


Abstract Content


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.

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