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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: USDA Database for the Choline Content of Common Foods

Authors
item Howe, Juliette
item Williams, Juhi - JOHNS HOPKINS UNIV
item Holden, Joanne
item Zeisel, Steven - UNIV NORTH CAROLINA
item Mar, Mei-Heng - UNIV NORTH CAROLINA

Submitted to: Home Page
Publication Type: Other
Publication Acceptance Date: March 4, 2004
Publication Date: March 4, 2004
Citation: Howe, J.C., Williams, J., Holden, J.M., Zeisel, S.H., Mar, M. 2004. Usda database for the choline content of common foods. Home Page. Available: http://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/foodcomp.

Interpretive Summary: Human beings have a requirement for choline. Choline is needed for the synthesis of phospholipids in cell membranes, for methyl metabolism, and for the synthesis of the neurotransmitter, acetylcholine. Betaine, a derivative of choline, is important for its role in the donation of methyl groups used in the conversion of homocysteine to methionine and for its folate sparing effect. The US Institute of Medicine has estimated an Adequate Intake (AI) of choline at 550 mg per day for men and 425 mg per day for women. About 1% of the US population suffer from a genetic defect which results in an adverse choline side effect - fishy body odor. Restricting choline intake for this group could lead to a reduction in body odor. However, few data are available on the choline content of foods, which is needed to calculate dietary intake levels. The objective of this study was to determine the choline content of a nationally representative sampling of common foods in order to develop a database for electronic release on the USDA Nutrient Data Laboratory's web site (http://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/foodcomp). Food samples of all types were obtained from 12 - 24 nationwide retail outlets using a national sampling plan developed for the National Food and Nutrient Analysis Program (Pehrsson, P. et al. J. Food Comp. Anal. 13:379,2000) and prepared for choline analysis. Various cooking methods were used as appropriate. Samples were analyzed for betaine and choline-contributing compounds (free choline, glycerophosphocholine, phosphocholine, phosphatidylcholine, and sphingomyelin) using liquid chromatography-electrospray ionization-isotope dilution mass spectrometry; total choline was calculated as the sum of the choline metabolites excluding betaine. Choline values for over 400 foods are presented. This database represents the first report of choline content for most of these foods. Foods found to provide a significant amount of choline (per100g food) include: eggs (251), wheat germ (152 mg), bacon (125 mg), dried soybeans (116 mg), pork (103 mg), cod (83 mg), beef (80 mg), chicken (70 mg), and salmon (65 mg). The establishment of a choline database, available electronically on the web, provides researchers and consumers with the means to estimate choline intake and to assess related biological effects in humans. Such information will also be used by government agencies for making public policy related to nutrition and health in the US, food fortification, and entitlement programs such as WIC, school lunch, and food stamps.

Technical Abstract: Human beings have a requirement for choline. Choline is needed for the synthesis of phospholipids in cell membranes, for methyl metabolism, acetylcholine synthesis and cholinergic neurotransmission. Betaine, a derivative of choline, is important for its role in the donation of methyl groups used in the conversion of homocysteine to methionine and for its folate sparing effect. About 1% of the US population suffer from a genetic defect of the flavin-containing monooxygenase 3 gene, which results in a cholinergic side effect of fishy body odor. Restricting choline intake for this group could lead to a reduction in body odor. The US Institute of Medicine has estimated an Adequate Intake (AI) of choline at 550 mg per day for men and 425 mg per day for women. However, few data are available on the choline content of foods, which is needed to calculate dietary intake levels. The objective of this study was to determine the choline content of a nationally representative sampling of common foods in order to develop a database for electronic release on the USDA Nutrient Data Laboratory's web site (http://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/foodcomp). Food samples of all types were obtained from 12 - 24 nationwide retail outlets in accordance with the national sampling plan developed for the National Food and Nutrient Analysis Program (Pehrsson, P. et al. J. Food Comp. Anal. 13:379,2000) and prepared for analysis. Various cooking methods were used as appropriate. Samples were analyzed for betaine and choline-contributing compounds (free choline, glycerophosphocholine, phosphocholine, phosphatidylcholine, and sphingomyelin) using liquid chromatography-electrospray ionization-isotope dilution mass spectrometry; total choline was calculated as the sum of the choline metabolites excluding betaine. Choline and betaine values for over 400 foods are presented. This database represents the first report of choline content for most of these foods. Foods found to provide a significant amount of choline (per100g food) include: eggs (251), wheat germ (152 mg), bacon (125 mg), dried soybeans (116 mg), pork (103 mg), cod (83 mg), beef (80 mg), chicken (70 mg), and salmon (65 mg). Foods providing high levels of betaine include: wheat bran (1339mg), wheat germ (1241 mg), spinach (645 mg), pretzels (237 mg), shrimp (218 mg), wheat bread (201 mg), wheat crackers (199 mg), cooked beets (157mg) and pasta (90 mg). The establishment of a choline database, available electronically on the web, provides researchers and consumers with the means to estimate choline intakeand to assess related biological effects in humans. Such information will be used by government agencies for making public policy related to nutrition and health in the US, food fortification, and entitlement programs such as WIC, school lunch, and food stamps.

Last Modified: 10/24/2014
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