Maternal choline supplementation: a nutritional approach for improving offspring health?

Trends Endocrinol Metab. 2014 May;25(5):263-73. doi: 10.1016/j.tem.2014.02.001. Epub 2014 Mar 26.


The modulatory role of choline on the fetal epigenome and the impact of in utero choline supply on fetal programming and health are of great interest. Studies in animals and/or humans suggest that maternal choline supplementation during pregnancy benefits important physiologic systems such as offspring cognitive function, response to stress, and cerebral inhibition. Because alterations in offspring phenotype frequently coincide with epigenetic modifications and changes in gene expression, maternal choline supplementation may be a nutritional strategy to improve lifelong health of the child. Future studies are warranted to elucidate further the effect of choline on the fetal epigenome and to determine the level of maternal choline intake required for optimal offspring physiologic function.

Keywords: choline; development; epigenetics; fetus; programming.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Choline / administration & dosage*
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Epigenesis, Genetic / drug effects
  • Female
  • Fetal Development / drug effects
  • Fetal Development / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Maternal Nutritional Physiological Phenomena / physiology*
  • Pregnancy


  • Choline