NMU 275 – Choline Deficiency is Prevalent and a Major Factor in Alzheimer’s disease Development.
Nutrition/Natural Medicine Update No 275 (February 1, 2023)
with Dr. James Meschino
Topic: Choline Deficiency is Prevalent and a Major Factor in Alzheimer’s disease Development.
Source: J Aging Cell (January 15, 2023)
For many years I have been telling my students, colleagues, patients, and members of the public that research consistently shows that lack of sufficient choline intake each day is a major contributing factor in the development age-related memory loss, Alzheimer’s disease and other common health problems. The research paper published in the journal Aging Cell in January of 2023 has once again provided further evidence for this claim. As these researchers from Arizona State University pointed out, choline is required to make the memory chemical in the brain known as acetylcholine and studies show that more than 90% of American are not getting the recommended amount of dietary choline, which is set at 425 mg/d for adult women and 550 mg/d for adult men. The researchers point out that not only aren’t 90% or more of the population not getting the daily recommended amount of choline, but they suggest that the recommended daily intake level for choline should be set even higher if a person wants to stave off the development of Alzheimer’s disease over their lifetime.
These researchers induced choline deficiency in both normal mice and mice that have been bred to be at increased risk for Alzheimer’s disease (transgenic mice). The results showed that in both normal mice and transgenic Alzheimer’s disease mice choline deficiency resulted in liver damage, enlargement of the heart and neurological alterations in the transgenic mice, as they showed an increased development of amyloid plaque and breakdown of the tau protein leading to neurofibrillary tangles – common features in human Alzheimer’s disease. In normal and transgenic mice, lack of choline also caused significant weight gain, and alterations in blood sugar regulation leading to diabetes, as well as deficits in motor skills. Regarding humans, one of the researchers stated, “it’s a twofold problem, first, people don’t reach the adequate daily intake of choline established by the Institute of Medicine in 1998. And secondly, there is vast literature showing that the recommended daily intake amounts are not optimal for brain-related functions.” They go on to explain how lack of sufficient choline each day also compromises learning and memory in humans. So, where can you get choline from food? The highest concentrations are found in animal-based foods like egg yolks, beef, salmon, and poultry. But if you are trying to go more plant-based, as I think you should, then you can get appreciable amounts of choline from soybeans and soy foods, as well as brussels sprouts, cauliflower, peanut butter, almonds, oat bran, beans, peas, broccoli, and whole wheat toast as well as some other foods, like wheat germ and soy lecithin – which most people don’t eat.
So, some prudent advice is to take 2 lecithin capsules per day (1200 mg per capsule), which provides 180 mg of choline per capsule, plus some other great phospholipids that the body can use for many purposes. After age 55 you should really add a supplement that contains:
- Huperzine A
- Bacopa monnieri
Why? After age 55, it becomes more difficult for choline to cross the blood-brain-barrier and get into brin cells. The nutrients found in a supplement like this have been shown in human clinical studies to support memory function, especially in older subjects, helping them maintain and sometimes reverse early-stage memory loss and achieve more optimal brain levels of the memory chemical acetylcholine.
I have included the reference for this research paper in the text below.
Nikhil Dave, Jessica M. Judd, Annika Decker, Wendy Winslow, Patrick Sarette, Oscar Villarreal Espinosa, Savannah Tallino, Samantha K. Bartholomew, Alina Bilal, Jessica Sandler, Ian McDonough, Joanna K. Winstone, Erik A. Blackwood, Christopher Glembotski, Timothy Karr, Ramon Velazquez. Dietary choline intake is necessary to prevent systems‐wide organ pathology and reduce Alzheimer’s disease hallmarks. Aging Cell, 2023; https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/acel.13775
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