CBC: Study suggests this nutrient reduces harm in offspring of pregnant mice given alcohol

FASD consultant cautions choline may not be the magic wand to alleviate impacts of prenatal exposure in humans

A file photo of alcohol. In a recent study, female mice were given alcohol along with the nutrient choline during their pregnancies. The results show reduced damage in their offspring. (iStock)

New research shows pregnant mice taking choline, an essential nutrient found in some multivitamins, shows it reduced the damage of alcohol in their offspring — and researchers are now wondering what effects it could have on humans.

The research findings from the University of California, Riverside, were published in the journal Neuropharmacology and build on existing research on the potential benefits of choline supplementation.

In the study, female mice were given alcohol along with the nutrient during their pregnancies. The results show the outcomes associated with alcohol exposure, including abnormal brain and behavioural development, were reduced in their offspring.

“It’s having an effect in this animal model. The question is, what kind of effect is it going to have on humans?” said Kelly Huffman, an associate professor of psychology at the University of California, Riverside, and a co-author of the paper.

So choline, yes it might help. But what about what comes before that?– Nathalie Brassard, FASCETS Canada West facilitator

“We still see a lot of women drinking during pregnancy. It’s not just alcoholism that’s driving it. That is true in some cases and I think for those women, something like choline could possibly be beneficial,” Huffman said.

She pointed out it’s still too early for health professionals to recommend a choline supplement for pregnant mothers without first demonstrating the benefits to humans, though she hopes her research will lead to more studies to answer that more definitely.

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Retrieved from https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/north/nutrient-supplement-fasd-1.5518400

The opinions expressed in this post are those of the authors. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of the FASD Prevention Conversation Project, its stakeholders or funders.

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