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Am J Clin Nutr. 2006 Apr;83(4):905-11.

Dietary choline and betaine assessed by food-frequency questionnaire in relation to plasma total homocysteine concentration in the Framingham Offspring Study.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Channing Laboratory, 181 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA 02115, USA.



Epidemiologic studies of choline and betaine intakes have been sparse because a food-composition database was not available until recently. The physiologic relevance of a variation in dietary choline and betaine in the general population and the validity of intake assessed by food-frequency questionnaire (FFQ) have not been evaluated.


This study was conducted to examine the physiologic relevance and validity of choline and betaine intakes measured by an FFQ.


We examined the relations between choline and betaine intakes measured by FFQ and plasma total homocysteine (tHcy) concentrations in 1960 participants from the Framingham Offspring Study.


Higher intakes of dietary choline and betaine were related to lower tHcy concentrations independent of other determinants, including folate and other B vitamins. For the lowest and highest quintiles of dietary choline plus betaine, the multivariate geometric means for tHcy were 10.9 and 9.9 mumol/L (P for trend < 0.0001). The inverse association was manifested primarily in participants with low folate intakes (P for interaction < 0.0001). Among participants with folate intakes < or =250 microg/d, the geometric mean tHcy concentrations in the lowest and highest quintiles of choline plus betaine intakes were 12.4 and 10.2 micromol/L (P for trend < 0.0001). Except for choline from phosphatidylcholine, individual forms of choline were inversely associated with tHcy concentrations.


Our findings provide support for a physiologically important variation in choline and betaine intakes in the general population and for the validity of intake measured by FFQ.

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