March 4, 2024


Hypothesis: Betaine decreases the pathogenicity of Covid-19.

Associations of dietary choline and betaine with all-cause mortality: a prospective study in a large Swedish cohort

Therese Karlsson 1 2Anna Winkvist


Purpose: Investigate the association between choline and betaine intake and all-cause mortality in a large Swedish cohort.

Methods: Women (52,246) and men (50,485) attending the Västerbotten Intervention Programme 1990-2016 were included. Cox proportional hazard regression models adjusted for energy intake, age, BMI, smoking, education, and physical activity were used to estimate mortality risk according to betaine, total choline, phosphatidylcholine, glycerophosphocholine, phosphocholine, sphingomyelin, and free choline intakes [continuous (per 50 mg increase) and in quintiles].

Results: During a median follow-up of 16 years, 3088 and 4214 deaths were registered in women and men, respectively. Total choline intake was not associated with all-cause mortality in women (HR 1.01; 95% CI 0.97, 1.06; P = 0.61) or men (HR 1.01; 95% CI 0.98, 1.04; P = 0.54). Betaine intake was associated with decreased risk of all-cause mortality in women (HR 0.95; 95% CI 0.91, 0.98; P < 0.01) but not in men. Intake of free choline was negatively associated with risk of all-cause mortality in women (HR 0.98; 95% CI 0.96, 1.00; P = 0.01). No other associations were found between intake of the different choline compounds and all-cause mortality. In women aged ≥ 55 years, phosphatidylcholine intake was positively associated with all-cause mortality. In men with higher folate intake, total choline intake was positively associated with all-cause mortality.

Conclusion: Overall, our results do not support that intake of total choline is associated with all-cause mortality. However, some associations were modified by age and with higher folate intake dependent on sex. Higher intake of betaine was associated with lower risk of all-cause mortality in women.