Pregnant women who take extra choline supplements may mitigate the negative impact that viral respiratory infections, including COVID-19, can have on their babies, according to a new study from researchers in the Departments of Psychiatry and Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus. Choline is a vitamin B nutrient found in various foods and dietary supplements, and is critical to fetal brain development.
“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) predicts that COVID-19 will impact fetal brain development like other common corona respiratory viruses,” said Robert Freedman, MD, professor of psychiatry at the CU Anschutz Medical Campus and lead researcher.
The new study, published in the Journal of Psychiatric Research, specifically looked at whether higher prenatal choline levels can help protect the fetus’s developing brain even if the mother contracts a viral respiratory infection in early pregnancy. The results reveal higher prenatal choline levels mitigate the fetal impact of virus infection.