Researchers at the University of Eastern Finland have recently concluded a study that showed that dietary intake of phosphatidylcholine is associated with a reduced risk of dementia and enhanced cognitive performance. The main dietary sources of phosphatidylcholine were eggs and meat.
The new study indicated that the risk of dementia was 28% lower in males with the highest intake of dietary phosphatidylcholine, when compared to males with the lowest intake. Males with the highest intake of dietary phosphatidylcholine also excelled in tests measuring their memory and linguistic abilities.
These findings are highly significant, considering that more than 65 million people globally are suffering from a cognitive and memory disorder that has led to dementia, and the number is expected to grow as the population ages. Alzheimer's disease is the most common cause of dementia, for which no treatment protocol currently exists. The new findings from the study may, therefore, play a critical role in the prevention of dementia. Successful dementia prevention is a collation of many things and in this equation, even minute individual factors can have a positive effect on the overall risk, possibly by preventing or delaying the disease onset.
Thailand is one country beginning to see a rise in cases of dementia in Asia and this is most likely to grow exponentially as the population ages. Finding a possible preventive measure can help a lot in not only causing public health infrastructures to not be over stressed but it can also mean a better quality of life for the elderly and also reduce health costs and burden to family members.
Choline is an essential nutrient, usually occurring in food in various compounds. Choline is also necessary for the formation of acetylcholine, which is a neurotransmitter. Many studies have linked choline intake with cognitive processing, and adequate choline intake plays a role in the prevention of cognitive, Alzheimer's disease and in the improvement of overall brain health. In fact, choline is these days used in a multinutrient medical drink in certain institutions, for intended for the treatment of early Alzheimer's.
The data for the new study were obtained from the Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study, KIHD conductedin Finland. At the start of the study in 1984-1989, researchers analyzed approximately 2,500 Finnish males aged between 42 and 60 for their dietary and lifestyle habits, and health details. These data were combined with their hospital records, cause of death records and medication reimbursement records after an average follow-up period of 22 years. In addition, four years after the study onset, approximately 500 males completed tests measuring their memory and cognitive processing. During the follow-up, 337 males developed dementia.
The new study involving data analysis extensively accounted for other lifestyle and nutrition related factors that could have explained the observed associations. In addition, the APOE4 gene, which predisposes to Alzheimer's disease and is common in the Finnish population, was accounted for, showing no significant impact on the findings. The key sources of phosphatidylcholine in the study population's diet were eggs (39%) and meat (37%).
Reference:Maija P T Ylilauri, Sari Voutilainen, Eija Lönnroos, Heli E K Virtanen, Tomi-Pekka Tuomainen, Jukka T Salonen, Jyrki K Virtanen. Associations of dietary choline intake with risk of incident dementia and with cognitive performance: the Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2019; DOI: 10.1093/ajcn/nqz148