In a new study, researchers found an important nutrient supplement called choline may help fight Alzheimer’s disease.
The supplement might be a better way for treatment of AD because it is considered a very safe alternative, compared with many pharmaceuticals.
The new finding may help develop new prevention and treatment for Alzheimer’s disease.
The research was conducted by researchers at the Biodesign Institute, Arizona State University.
Alzheimer’s disease is a chronic neurodegenerative disease that usually starts slowly and gradually worsens over time.
Patients usually experience a range of symptoms that include confusion, disorientation, delusions, forgetfulness, aggression, agitation, and progressive loss of motor control.
The disease will affect 13.5 million people in the U.S. alone by mid-century if nothing is done to address the disease.
Previous research has shown that Alzheimer’s disease begins its path of destruction in the brain decades before the onset of clinical symptoms.
Therefore, it is very important to find a way to prevent the disease in its early stages and slow down the progress.
In the study, the team examined the effects of choline on Alzheimer’s disease.
Choline is an essential nutrient that is naturally found in some foods and available as a dietary supplement.
It is needed for many steps in metabolism in the body.
Choline is used by the body to produce acetylcholine, an important neurotransmitter essential for brain and nervous system functions including memory, muscle control, and mood.
In the study, the team found that when mice with Alzheimer’s symptoms were given high choline in their diet, their offspring show improvements in spatial memory, compared with those receiving a normal choline regimen in the womb.
Moreover, the beneficial effects of choline supplementation not only protect mice receiving choline supplementation but also protect the subsequent offspring of these mice.
The team explains that choline acts to protect the brain from Alzheimer’s disease in at least two ways.
First, choline reduces levels of homocysteine, an amino acid that can act as a potent neurotoxin, contributing to the neurodegeneration and the formation of amyloid plaques, which are main signs of Alzheimer’s in the brain.
Second, choline supplementation reduces the activation of microglia, which are cells responsible for clearing away debris in the brain.
In people with Alzheimer’s disease, their microglia cells are often out of control. This can cause brain inflammation and eventually lead to neuronal death.
The new finding provides new evidence that a healthy diet may offer protection from diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease.
For example, previous research showed that people following a Mediterranean diet for 4.5 years lowered their risk of Alzheimer’s disease by 54%.
The Mediterranean diet plan is rich in fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and nuts, as well as fish and poultry.
The diet can help reduce the accumulation of Aβ-amyloid, the protein responsible for plaque formation.
Although choline may help fight Alzheimer’s disease, the authors warn that it takes about 9 times the recommended daily dose of choline to produce harmful side effects.
New studies in humans will ultimately determine the effectiveness of choline as a new weapon in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease.
The lead authors of the study are Ramon Velazquez and Salvatore Oddo.
The study is published in the Nature journal Molecular Psychiatry.
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