Focus on Nutrients Part 2: Choline


Focus on Nutrients Part 2: Choline


Steve Brown
Steve Brown is a renowned dog nutrition expert who has been in the raw dog food industry since its start. He’s been called the Godfather of Raw Dog by many, but is most known for his book “Unlocking the Canine Ancestral Diet” and “See Spot Live Longer.”

Two of Three Reference Charts To Be Utilized With My Focus on Nutrients Series

If you are intending to reference these please start with my Focus on Nutrients Part: 2 Introduction or access the full series below. I have also included the links to the other two charts for your convenience.

Focus on Nutrients Full Series

Chart 1 Iron

Chart 3 Selenium

Choline is a water-soluble, vitamin-like essential nutrient for humans, canines and felines for:

  • liver function

  • proper brain development

  • nerve function

  • muscle movement

  • other important processes

How much choline is in food?

We often don’t know. The USDA database lacks choline information, indeed, as of a few years ago they provided almost no choline data, but they are now slowly updating the database. Most of the meat ingredients lack data. (One needs to be careful when using computer programs based upon USDA database. If the choline is not listed, the programs assume no choline. Most meats have choline, even if not listed in the USDA database.) Use the tables below to estimate the choline content of your recipe. As always, all nutrient content numbers are estimates, and real foods can vary significantly.

All the choline tests my clients have run have come back with more than we expected, but also with more errors than normal for testing (and nutrient testing often has errors).

Potato and grains have low levels of choline, therefore dry food companies need to add choline, often in the form of choline chloride, to their foods. Choline chloride is my least favorite supplement because it is unstable and can react with other supplements. If you can, avoid foods with added choline chloride.

For pre-conception through weaning diets, choline is an especially nutrient for brain development. Add fresh eggs to the dad’s and mom’s diet starting a few weeks before conception.

Meat-based diets that contain liver will meet or exceed AAFCO and FEDIAF (the European equivalent) minimum recommendations for choline. Some all meat diets without organ meats and with low choline vegetables such as carrots may fall short of choline. If building recipes without organ meats, make sure your recipe contains egg yolks, or specify high-choline vegetables, some of which are listed below.

Focus on Nutrients Part:2 by Steve Brown Choline Chart

Steve Brown

Steve Brown is a dog food formulator, researcher, and author on canine nutrition. In the 1990s he developed one of the leading low-calorie training treats, Charlee Bear® Dog Treats, as well as the first AAFCO-compliant raw dog food. Since 2003 he has focused on research and education. He is the author of two books on canine nutrition (See Spot Live Longer, now in its 8th printing, and Unlocking the Canine Ancestral Diet (Dogwise Publishing, 2010); and a 40-page booklet, See Spot Live Longer the ABC Way. 

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