Journal List > Korean J Nutr > v.43(6) > 1043855

Korean J Nutr. 2010 Dec;43(6):588-596. Korean.
Published online December 31, 2010.
© 2010 The Korean Nutrition Society
Choline and Betaine Concentrations in Breast Milk of Korean Lactating Women and the Choline and Betaine Intakes of Their Infants
Hanok Jeong, Yoonsuk Suh and Young-Jin Chung
Department of Food and Nutrition, College of Human Ecology, Chungnam National University, Daejeon 305-764, Korea.

To whom correspondence should be addressed. (Email: )
Received September 08, 2010; Revised September 24, 2010; Accepted October 25, 2010.


Most nutrients taken by pregnant women are secreted into their breast milk. Food contains choline together with betaine, and in human body choline is oxidized to betaine which transfer methyl group. The aim of the study was to estimate the concentrations of choline and betaine in breast milk of Korean lactating women and the choline and betaine intakes of their infants. Total choline, free choline and betaine concentrations in breast milk of some lactating women living in Daejon Metropolitan city were analyzed every month by using HPLC-MS and enzymatic method during the first five months. Total choline concentrations of breast milks were 157.64 mg/L (1.52 mmol/L), 157.83 mg/L (1.52 mmol/L), 165.99 mg/L (1.60 mmol/L), 153.67 mg/L (1.48 mmol/L), 145.05 mg/L (1.39 mmol/L) by month after delivery for five months. The concentrations of total choline and free choline in breast milks were not significantly changed for the five months while the betaine concentrations gradually decreased. Daily intake of total choline of the infants appears to be adequate for the infant's requirement according to the US DRI; 124.6 mg/d, 120.9 mg/d, 126.5 mg/d 104.1 mg/d from 2nd to 5th month after birth. Free choline and betaine intakes of the infants were not significantly changed during the four months except showing decrease in betaine intake per kg body weight. Choline intakes of the infants more correlated with choline concentrations of the breast milks (r = 0.982, p = 0.000) than intake amount of the breast milk (r = 0.414, p = 0.028). These results suggest that the choline intake of Korean breast-fed infants appears to be adequate and the intake could be affected by the choline concentration of the breast milk.

Keywords: choline; free choline; betaine; breast milk; infant


Fig. 1
The changes of total choline, free choline and betaine concentration of seven individual breast milks during the firrst five months of lactation. The number of the subjects for the 1st month was thirty-six and the number of the subjects for the rest of months was all seven.
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Fig. 2
Breast milk intake itself and adjusted by kg body weight of the infants from 2nd to 5th month after birth.
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Fig. 3
The relationship between total choline concentration of breast milks and total choline intakes of the infants.
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Fig. 4
The relationship between total choline intake and breast milk intake of the infants.
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Table 1
General characteristics of the subjects of lactating women and their infants
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Table 2
The changes of mean concentrations of total choline, free choline and betaine of seven breast milks during the first five months of lactation
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Table 3
The changes of anthropomrtric characteristics of the infants during the first five months after birth
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Table 4
Daily intake of total choline, free choline and betaine of the infants and the adjusted intake by their body weight and the percentage of free choline to total choline from 2nd to 5th month after birth
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This research was supported by grant from Korea Ministry of Health and Welfare No. 2006-521-C00193.

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