Choline is an important component found in foods such as eggs, broccoli, beans, pork, and chicken, and is synthesised in small amounts in the liver. A new research investigates how a lack of dietary choline harms the body and might be a missing piece in the jigsaw of Alzheimer’s disease.
It is estimated that more than 90% of Americans do not reach the recommended daily choline consumption. Current study in mice reveals that a lack of dietary choline can have serious consequences for the heart, liver, and other organs. A lack of choline has also been related to severe brain alterations associated with Alzheimer’s disease.
Pathologies involved in the formation of two typical markers of the illness, amyloid plaques, which gather in the intercellular spaces between neurons, and tau tangles, which condense inside the bodies of neurons, are among them.
The current study, conducted by Arizona State University scientists, identifies diseases in normal mice lacking in dietary choline as well as choline deficient transgenic mice, which already display indications of the illness. In both cases, dietary choline deprivation causes liver damage, heart enlargement, and neurologic abnormalities in Alzheimer’s disease mice, including elevated levels of plaque-forming amyloid-beta protein and illness-linked modifications in tau protein.
Further, the study illustrates that choline deficiency in mice causes significant weight gain, and alterations in glucose metabolism, (which are tied to conditions such as diabetes), and deficits in motor skills.
In the case of humans, “it’s a twofold problem,” according to Ramon Velazquez, senior author of the study and Assistant professor with the ASU-Banner Neurodegenerative Disease Research Center. “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.”
Ramon Velazquez led the new study on the importance of dietary choline for the brain and other organs. He is a researcher in the ASU-Banner Neurodegereative Disease Research Center.
The research highlights a constellation of physical and neurological changes linked to choline deficiency. Sufficient choline in the diet reduces levels of the amino acid homocysteine, which has been recognized as a neurotoxin contributing to neurodegeneration and is important for mediating functions such as learning and memory, through the production of acetylcholine.
The growing awareness of choline’s importance should encourage all adults to ensure proper choline intake. This is particularly true for those on plant-based diets, which may be low in naturally occurring choline, given that foods high in choline are eggs, meats, and poultry.
Choline-rich plant meals such as soybeans, Brussels sprouts, and toast can aid in these circumstances. Furthermore, low-cost, over-the-counter choline supplements are recommended to maintain overall health and protect the brain from the consequences of neurodegeneration.