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Effects of phosphatidylcholine and betaine supplements on women's serum choline

Hoffman, M. Camille, Olincy, Ann, D'Alessandro, Angelo, Reisz, Julie A., Hansen, Kirk C., Hunter, Sharon K., Freedman, Robert, Ross, Randal G.
Journal of nutrition & intermediary metabolism 2019 v.16 pp. 100094
betaine, blood serum, brain, childhood, choline, clinical trials, humans, neonates, phosphatidylcholines, pregnant women, standard deviation
Maternal phosphatidylcholine supplements have shown benefit in the development of the human fetal brain, as assessed both by newborn physiological measurements and by a related decrease in later childhood behavioral abnormalities. However, the relatively low choline component of phosphatidylcholine mandates high doses that are difficult for pregnant women to consume.Betaine can substitute for some choline effects. The hypothesis was that betaine supplementation would significantly increase women's serum choline.A three-arm crossover clinical trial was used to assess serum concentrations of choline after betaine supplements at two doses, in comparison with phosphatidylcholine supplementation. The effects of both a single dose and of one-week twice-daily doses were assessed in normal non-pregnant women.Betaine supplements at two doses failed to increase serum choline concentrations after single administration or one-week twice-daily dosing. Phosphatidylcholine supplements raised choline concentrations after both single doses (mean change from baseline 8.34 ± 7.29 ng/ml, paired t = 3.24, df 7, p = 0.014, range 1–21 ng/ml, d’ = 1.15) and one-week twice-daily doses (mean change from baseline 4.58 ± 3.68 ng/ml standard deviation; paired t = 3.51, df 7, p < 0.001, range 2–13 ng/ml, d’ = 2.65). Betaine concentrations rose after both betaine and phosphatidylcholine supplementation.Betaine supplements did not substitute for phosphatidylcholine supplements, which raise serum choline concentrations both after a single dose and after repeated administration. However, serum betaine concentrations did rise after both betaine and phosphatidylcholine consumption and, therefore, betaine may be a stable indicator of choline intake.