Mental Health & Pregnancy: Preventing Mental Illness Through Choline

By lovely carillo, Parent Herald October 25, 08:07 pm
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Doctors found out that micronutrient choline can prevent mental disorders in children even from the womb
(Photo : Angel Valentin / Stringer)

Prenatal examinations are no longer just considered an optional routine for pregnant women but it has also become a must, especially for parents who want to make sure they want to produce children that are physically and mentally healthy. Researchers have found out that future mental disorders could be prevented by ensuring that certain substances are made part of a woman's regular intake while pregnant.

 The findings show that the vitamins and other supplements required by doctors during pregnancy are no longer just for routine purposes. Doctors usually recommend the intake of calcium, iodine and folic acid for pregnant women to ensure the health of their future babies.

NPR, however, reveals that the intake of choline should also be made a regular part of a pregnant woman's routine to enhance the brain development of the fetus. Even psychiatrists are now shifting to prevention instead of cure, even when it comes to a child's mental health.

Schizophrenia, one of the most dreaded mental disorders, has been linked to the gene CHRNA7. It turns out that this gene's receptor is activated by the presence of choline in the womb.

The findings has led researchers to the belief that if folic acid can boost the development of the spinal cord then choline can also boost brain development and prevent the occurence of mental problems later on. The Institute for Children's Mental Disorders revealed the latest discoveries made by the researchers at the University of Colorado Denver Department of Psychiatry did not only outline the causes and development of mental disorders but the possibility of preventing them through choline.

Choline is an important macronutrient that affects the normal development of the brain, movement of the muscles, function of the liver and several other important body processes. No less than Robert Freedman, a psychiatrist at the University of Colorado, found out the role played by choline in brain development of the fetus, according to Brain and Behavior Research Foundation.

Even though the human body makes choline naturally, it is so small that there is a need to obtain it from other sources. Choline can be found in liver, eggs, cauliflower, chickpeas, turkey, chicken breast and beef. Meanwhile studies are still being made about the other benefits of choline, pregnant women should try to include choline-rich food in their diet and consider their doctor's advice when it comes to ensuring their child's mental and physical fitness.

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