Dietary choline linked to reduced dementia risk & better cognition
Data from a large, long-running Finnish study, involving some 2,500 men aged 42-60, has found that dietary intake of phosphatidylcholine was associated with a reduced risk of dementia (the risk was 28% lower in men with the highest intake compared to the lowest). Men with the highest intake of dietary phosphatidylcholine also excelled in tests measuring their memory and linguistic abilities.
The key sources of phosphatidylcholine in the study population's diet were eggs (39%) and meat (37%).
Choline is necessary for the formation of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. Earlier studies have linked choline intake with cognitive processing, and adequate choline intake may play a role in the prevention of cognitive decline and Alzheimer's disease.
There was no interaction with the APOE4 gene.
Choline helps fight Alzheimer's across generations
A study using genetically engineered mice found that when they were given high choline in their diet, their offspring showed improved in spatial memory.
Study of the hippocampus found the choline had reduced microglial activation, and thus brain inflammation, and reduced levels of homocysteine by converting it into the more helpful chemical methionine. These effects, achieved through gene modification, passed on to the next generation.
It has long been recognized that choline is particularly important in early brain development.
Ylilauri, Maija P.T. et al. 2019. Associations of dietary choline intake with risk of incident dementia and with cognitive performance: the Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study.
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, published online July 30, 2019, https://doi.org/10.1093/ajcn/nqz148
(2019). Maternal choline supplementation ameliorates Alzheimer’s disease pathology by reducing brain homocysteine levels across multiple generations.
Molecular Psychiatry. 1 - 10.