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Nutrients. 2017 Aug 5;9(8). pii: E839. doi: 10.3390/nu9080839.

Usual Choline Intakes Are Associated with Egg and Protein Food Consumption in the United States.

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Department of Nutrition and Food Studies, George Mason University, 10340 Democracy Lane, Suite 306, Fairfax, VA 22030, USA.
Think Healthy Group, Inc., 127 U Street NW, Washington, DC 20001, USA.
Nutrition Impact, LLC, 9725 D Drive North, Battle Greek, MI 49014, USA.


Choline is an essential nutrient with critical roles in several biological processes including neuronal development, cell signaling, nerve impulse transmission, and lipid transport and metabolism. The National Cancer Institute method was used to assess usual intakes of choline from foods according to data for participants enrolled in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2009-2014 datasets and pregnant women in the 2005-2014 datasets. Suboptimal intakes of choline are present across many gender and life-stage subpopulations, as well as pregnant women in the U.S. Only 8.03 ± 0.56% of adults and 8.51 ± 2.89% pregnant women meet the AI for choline. Children 2-3 years were the most likely to meet their gender and life-stage specific AI, followed by children 4-8 years. Adults 19+ years who consume eggs were more likely to meet their gender and life-stage AI as compared to non-consumers (57.3 ± 1.45% and 2.43 ± 0.28%). Consumers of eggs had almost double the usual intake of choline as compared to non-consumers (525 ± 5.17 mg/d and 294 ± 1.98; p < 0.0001). Protein food (meat, poultry and seafood) consumption also increased usual choline intakes compared to non-consumers (345 ± 2.21 mg/day and 235 ± 8.81; p < 0.0001) to a lesser degree, but did not result in substantial increases in the percent of individuals meeting the AI. No subpopulation exceeded the UL for choline. This research illustrates that it is extremely difficult to achieve the AI for choline without consuming eggs or taking a dietary supplement.


NHANES; adequate intake; choline; dietary reference intake; tolerable upper intake level; usual intake

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Conflict of interest statement

T.C.W. has accepted academic consulting and writing fees from Balchem Corp. T.C.W. is currently an academic consultant for the Egg Nutrition Center. T.C.W. has obtained competitive research grants within the past year from the National Cattleman’s Beef Association. V.L.F as Vice President of Nutrition Impact, LLC conducts analyses of NHANES for numerous members of the food and beverage industry.

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