The Austin-based supplement start-up, founded last year, will begin shipping the gummy variety this month. Its debut product was in capsule form, delivering 500 mg of choline per capsule.
In recent years, the conversation around choline has been centered on maternal care, as multiple studies on the water-soluble essential nutrient have linked it to children’s brain development during their mother’s pregnancy.
For example, a study published this year in the FASEB Journal found that children of mothers given choline supplements during pregnancy at doses double the recommended level displayed significantly higher information processing speeds at all ages.
But Kline wanted to highlight its importance in children as well. “It was important for me to raise awareness within the parent community about the role that choline plays in a child's academic success,” she told NutraIngredients-USA.
“Without choline the brain is unable to function properly which can lead to an inability to focus, memorize, recall learned information and other skills that are needed to be successful in school…yet getting children to take capsules or eat beef liver or several eggs on a daily basis is difficult. That's where BestCholine Gummies come into play.”
The dosage amount delivered by BestCholine products is around the same amount that the American Medical Association (AMA) supported during the organization’s annual meeting last summer. The last NHANES survey, which used data collected in 2004, found that a whopping 90% of Americans aren’t getting enough choline.
Calling for more choline
Kline’s personal journey that led to the creation of BestCholine started when she was pregnant with her first.
“When I became pregnant I obsessed over how I could help my child live their best potential in life. I wondered how my diet and everyday lifestyle choices affected my baby,” she explained on her company’s website.
“During my research, I learned about an essential nutrient I had never heard about before, choline…I was frustrated that a nutrient so important that directly affected my child’s capacity to learn, as well as prevent against neural birth defects, was barely included in my prenatal vitamin.
“My prenatal vitamin contained 10mg of Choline—the average recommended intake for pregnant and lactating women is 500-600mg!”
In fact, according to a 2016 study by researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago, none of the top 25 prenatal multivitamins contained the scientifically-backed choline dose for pregnant women (450 mg/day).
Raising awareness and product marketing go hand-in-hand
As a start-up specializing in choline, Kline’s marketing efforts aren’t just about spreading the word about the products, but also raising awareness around choline.
“I am extremely passionate about raising awareness, and my personal goal is to help reduce the percentage of Americans who are choline-deficient. We are currently using Facebook as our primary outlet to educate consumers as well as through our blog,” she said.
“The reason we are driven towards focusing our efforts on Facebook is two-fold. One, it has the two main audiences we want to reach, the first being newly pregnant parents or parents of school-aged children and the other being seniors. The second reason that we focus on Facebook is because it allows for communication through comments and easy interaction between consumers with questions and our brand.”
While increasing choline intake is recommended for all age groups and sexes, Kline said that women and seniors have responded the most to her brand. “I think this is in part because they are the ones most actively seeking out information on how to better their health, or their loved ones health.”