Evidence-Based Nutrient Recommendations

Choline Updated

We gave our choline article a complete review and update. Here’s a summary:

  • Choline is an essential nutrient needed for brain function, fat metabolism, and the health of cell membranes.
  • Although plant foods are generally lower in choline than animal foods, it’s found in small amounts in a wide range of plant foods. A vegan diet that emphasizes whole foods can provide enough choline.
  • Vegan women who are considering getting pregnant should choose a prenatal supplement that includes choline since inadequate intakes may be linked to the risk of neural tube defects.
  • Vitamin B12 deficiency can interfere with the production of choline and choline-containing phospholipids.
  • There is some uncertainty about choline requirements and we recommend meeting the DRIs for choline (425 mg/day for adult women, 450mg/day for pregnant people, and 550 mg/day for adult men).
  • There is little evidence to suggest a protective effect of choline against cardiovascular disease.
  • While numerous studies have looked for correlations between choline and various cancers, nothing can be concluded without significantly more evidence.
  • There currently is no evidence to suggest that lower choline intakes are a risk for dementia.
  • While there haven’t been any studies on choline intake among vegans, we do know that a vegan diet can provide adequate choline.
  • Soymilk, shiitake mushrooms, roasted soy nuts, wheat germ, kidney beans, and quinoa are among the richest plant sources of choline.
  • We added a sample menu showing how a vegan eating 2,000 calories per day can get enough choline.

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Before you comment, please read:

  • If you have a question about whether it's okay to cut supplements in half or combine supplements to achieve the dose we recommend, the answer is “Yes.” Be aware that nutrient recommendations are only estimates—it's not necessary to consume the exact amount we recommend every single day.
  • We aren't able to respond to questions about which brands of supplements to take.
  • We cannot provide personal nutrition advice for specific health conditions. If you need private counseling, here's a list of plant-based dietitians and we especially recommend VeganHealth contributor Taylor Wolfram, MS, RDN, LDN.
  • We urge you to consult with a qualified health professional for answers to your personal questions.