Choline: What You Need to KnowCertain nutrients are essential to the health and well-being of your growing child. Here’s what to keep in mind when it comes to choline.

What it is: Choline is an important nutrient similar to the B vitamins and often grouped with them as part of the vitamin B complex. Because the body may not produce enough choline on its own, it’s important to consume choline-rich foods.

How it helps: Choline helps brain cells function, and it is important for overall brain development and activity. The nutrient is also important for cell membrane structure. In the womb, babies obtain choline from their mothers, allowing for healthy development before birth.

Where it’s found: Choline is especially high in milk, liver, eggs, and peanuts. It’s also found in poultry, fish, and grains. Breast milk supplies choline; infant formula also has it.

How much is needed:

Age Amount/day
0-6 months 125 mg
7-12 months 150 mg
1-3 years 200 mg
4-5 years 250 mg

What else to know: Like folic acid, choline may be important for neural tube development that occurs early on in a pregnancy. Vegans who consume no milk or eggs may be at risk for choline deficiency, because it comes mainly from animal products.