For more details:
Choline and Folate Scrutinized
By Marcia Wood
March 30, 2001
Our bodies can't make enough of the B
vitamin choline if we are low in it and a second B vitamin, folate. Thats
according to a study from Agricultural
Research Service and university researchers, led by chemist Robert A. Jacob
of ARS Western Human Nutrition
Research Center, Davis, Calif.
The findings agree with some of the results of animal studies conducted
earlier by ARS scientists at Tufts
University in Boston and by other nutrition researchers elsewhere. In all,
these investigations helped pave the way to the current recommended choline
intake of 425 milligrams a day for women and 550 milligrams for men.
Meats, dairy products and soy foods are rich in choline. Folate is highest
in orange juice, green leafy vegetables like spinach, and bread flour or other
grain products fortified with this vitamin. Nuts and liver contain both
Choline helps us absorb and use fats, and is required for making
acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter needed for muscle control, memory storage and
other functions. Both nutrients contain whats known as a methyl group,
which the body uses to form genetic material or DNA.
Jacobs tests with male and female volunteers included low-folate,
low-choline regimens which provided as little as 13 percent of today's
recommended daily allowance of folate. No severe choline or folate deficiencies
occurred during the study, but blood levels of choline decreased an average of
25 to 28 percent in men and women during the low-folate, low-choline stints.
Those levels returned to at least normal when researchers provided more folate.
For details, see the current issue of the ARS monthly journal, Agricultural Research.
ARS is the U.S. Department of
Agricultures chief scientific research agency.
Scientific contact: Through June 6, 2001, contact Robert A. Jacob at
the ARS Grand Forks Human Nutrition
Research Center, Grand Forks, N.D.; phone (701) 795-8456, fax (701)
thereafter, at the ARS Western Human Nutrition Research Center, Davis, Calif.;
phone (530) 752-4726, fax (530) 752-8502,