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Br J Nutr. 2015 Dec 28;114(12):2046-55. doi: 10.1017/S0007114515003700. Epub 2015 Oct 1.

Dietary intake and food sources of choline in European populations.

Author information

1Evidence Management Unit,European Food Safety Authority (EFSA),43126 Parma,Italy.
2Nutrition Unit,European Food Safety Authority (EFSA),43126 Parma,Italy.
3National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM),3721 MA Bilthoven,The Netherlands.
4Department of Epidemiology and Health Monitoring,Robert Koch Institute,D-13302 Berlin,Germany.
5Exposure Assessment and Exposure Standardisation Unit,Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR),D-10589 Berlin,Germany.
6Nutrition Unit,Institute for Health and Welfare (THL),FI-00271 Helsinki,Finland.
7Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI),D01 W2H4 Dublin,Republic of Ireland.
8Research Center on Food and Nutrition (CRA-NUT),00184 Rome,Italy.
9Risk Benefit Assessment Division,National Food Agency,751 26 Uppsala,Sweden.
10Dietary Survey Unit - Nutritional Epidemiology,French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health Safety (ANSES),94701 Maisons-Alfort,France.
11Department of Risk Assessment and Epidemiology,Institute of Food Safety, Animal Health and Environment (BIOR),LV-1076 Riga,Latvia.


Choline is an important nutrient for humans. Choline intake of the European population was assessed considering the European Food Safety Authority European Comprehensive Food Consumption Database and the United States Department of Agriculture Nutrient Database. Average choline intake ranges were 151-210 mg/d among toddlers (1 to ≤3 years old), 177-304 mg/d among other children (3 to ≤10 years old), 244-373 mg/d among adolescents (10 to ≤18 years old), 291-468 mg/d among adults (18 to ≤65 years old), 284-450 mg/d among elderly people (65 to ≤75 years old) and 269-444 mg/d among very elderly people (≥75 years old). The intakes were higher among males compared with females, mainly due to larger quantities of food consumed per day. In most of the population groups considered, the average choline intake was below the adequate intake (AI) set by the Institute of Medicine in the USA. The main food groups contributing to choline intake were meat, milk, grain, egg and their derived products, composite dishes and fish. The main limitations of this study are related to the absence of choline composition data of foods consumed by the European population and the subsequent assumption made to assess their intake levels. Given the definition of AI, no conclusion on the adequacy of choline intake can be drawn for most European population groups. Such results improve the knowledge on choline intake in Europe that could be further refined by the collection of choline composition data for foods as consumed in Europe.


AI adequate intake; Choline; EFSA European Food Safety Authority; Europe; Food composition; Food contributors; IOM Institute of Medicine; Nutrient intake assessment; UL upper intake level; USDA United States Department of Agriculture

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