Share The Wealth by Chris Gupta
April 05, 2004

Nutrient during pregnancy 'super-charges' brain

Updated with Dr. Mercola's comments... CG

Incredibly, this knowledge was intuitive to traditional societies and our ancestors. While, this study is interesting and comforting, it is sad that we need such studies to counter the food and medical industry flabbergaf against wholesome foods. Instead of promoting good healthy foods - commercial interests have duped us with cheap synthetics like egg substitutes, margarine and the like that are foreign to our body. These substitutes only cost pennies to produce but are sold at nearly the cost of the real thing. All this with 'smoke and mirrors' promotion, even by our health associations and government bodies, as more healthy foods.

Surely, if the building blocks (nutrients) are not there then no amount of medicine, wether alternative or mainstream can cure the disease! This is the prime reason why the pharma cartel is so worried. Hence, the suppression/regulation/censorship of information of natural food based products and associated vitamins!

Chris Gupta

Nutrient during pregnancy 'super-charges' brain

13:05 12 March 04 news service

Taking a nutrient called choline during pregnancy could "super-charge" children's brains for life, suggests a study in rats. Offspring born to pregnant rats given the supplement were known to be faster learners with better memories. But the new work, by Scott Swartzwelder and colleagues at Duke University Medical Center in North Carolina, US, shows this is due to having bigger brain cells in vital areas. Choline, a member of the vitamin B family, is found in egg yolks, liver and other meats - "exactly the kind of things people were told not to eat" due to their high cholesterol content, says Swartzwelder. He believes their results in the rats could translate to humans, and indeed the US Institute of Medicine added choline to the list of essential nutrients, particularly for pregnant women, in its 2003 recommendations. The implications of the study's findings are "potentially huge" Swartzwelder believes: "If it turns out that it's true in humans and can make people smarter their whole lives and forestall age-related memory decline - that's potentially a very exciting prospect." Hannah Theobald, a nutrition scientist at the British Nutrition Foundation, calls the study "really interesting" but cautions that more research needs to be done before any recommendations can be made in humans.

Anatomy and physiology

Behavioural studies have shown giving choline to pregnant rats improves learning and memory in their offspring. The pups also suffer significantly less from failing memories as they get old. However, it was not known whether choline's effects were on the general brain environment or whether it fundamentally changed the brain's cells. "Our study is the first time anyone has shown that prenatal choline supplementation actually changes the anatomy and physiology of single brain cells," Swartzwelder told New Scientist. No adverse effects could be seen in the rats, he adds. The team gave pregnant rats three to four times their normal intake of choline for six days. Gestation lasts about 21 days in rats, and the period during which the rats were fed extra choline roughly corresponds to the start of the third trimester in women.

Electrical signals

The pups born were raised to adulthood and then their brains were examined, in particular the hippocampus - the area of the brain critical for learning. This part of the brain was sliced in a way that preserved its internal circuitry and kept it alive. A tiny electrode was then used to recording the behaviour of each cell. The neurons of rats born to mothers given extra choline fired electrical signals more rapidly and for longer periods, indicating a capacity to communicate more easily. The team then injected a biological dye into the neurons to look at their shape and structure. The cells from rats receiving prenatal choline supplements were substantially bigger than those from rats that did not. "We are looking at consistent changes in the range of 20 to 25 per cent," says Swartzwelder. "These are bigger cells with more dendrites, the areas of the cell specific to receiving incoming signals." He says the combined changes induced by choline in the physiology and anatomy of the brain cells would "hotwire" the system.

Better membranes

The team does not know exactly how choline boosts brains, but it is known to contribute to the building of cell membranes during the embryo stage of development. "My bet is it has something to do this," Swartzwelder says.

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For more related stories search the print edition Archive


Duke University Medical Center

Institute of Medicine dietary report summary (pdf)

Choline, Purdue University

Previous work by Steven Zeiser at the University of North Carolina has shown choline alters a crucial gene by adding a methyl group on to it. This switches off the gene, CDKN-3, which usually inhibits cell division in the memory regions of the brain. There is little information on how much choline women currently take. "But don't be afraid of eggs," Swartzwelder suggests. "I used to eat a low fat diet - I've started eating eggs and I'm not even pregnant!" However, Theobald warns that some foods rich in choline should be avoided during pregnancy. For example, liver is also high in retinol which can cause birth defects. And certain choline-rich fish like swordfish and tuna can also have a high mercury content, which is harmful to fetuses. Journal reference: Journal of Neurophysiology (vol 91 April issue)

Shaoni Bhattacharya

Also see:

A raw egg a day keeps the doctor - and the Mafia - away

Dr. Mercola's Comment:

The implications of the study's findings are potentially huge. If this turns out to be true in humans and has the potential to make people smarter their entire lives and forestall age-related memory decline--that's potentially an extremely exciting prospect.

One of the simple things pregnant women can do to increase their choline intake is to start eating raw eggs. Eggs are very high in choline and when eaten in the raw state the nutrients are less damaged and the risk of salmonella in healthy eggs is very low.

As a matter of fact, you would have a better chance at winning the lottery than catching salmonella from a healthy chicken.

Please also remember that omega-3 fat, especially from clean cod liver oil is another very powerful food nearly every single pregnant woman needs to be taking.

Not only will this dramatically reduce the risk of preeclampsia, a dangerous pregnancy complication, but it will also virtually eliminate the risk of premature delivery. Also, like choline, it will also dramatically increase the intelligence of your child.

"Feeding Babies" form Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon with Mary G Enig, PhD is a must read. CG

See also:

Pesticides too harmful to use in any form, doctors warn


posted by Chris Gupta on Monday April 5 2004
updated on Saturday September 24 2005

URL of this article:



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Readers' Comments

After delivering the baby, our women should eat the placenta. Because they mostly don't do that it causes a lot of suffering. The placenta is full of a feeding-enzyme called Hyaluronidase. I personally know the doctor who found out this all. He is called dr. Siegfried Willem Bok and I was allowed to visit him in Portugal where he fled from the Dutch system-dictatorship...

Posted by: Tjarko Holtjer on March 19, 2004 06:19 AM


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