Scientists have long called it a “brain booster.” Choline is a nutrient found in animal cells, like meat and fish, that is essential for human development. Not only does it aid in memory and learning, but researchers now believe choline could help prevent mental illness.
Before he was even born, five-year old William Mason and his mom were part of a landmark research study.
Mother, Lisa Mason, told Ivanhoe, “I thought that would be beneficial for my baby.”
Researchers wanted to know if giving pregnant women choline would protect their babies against schizophrenia.
One half of the women in the study were given a placebo. The other half took choline. After birth, the babies whose mothers took choline continued to receive the supplement.
Researchers then followed up with sensory tests. The normal human brain responds fully to an initial clicking noise, but screens out the second click.
That filter doesn’t happen with schizophrenia.
Randy Ross, MD, director of research training at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, told Ivanhoe, “Your brain is wired to not pay attention to repetitive uninformative information in the environment.”
The study showed mothers who took choline had babies who were far less likely to respond to the second sound. 76 percent had a normal response compared to the 43 percent of the babies in the placebo group.