Common nutrient in diet plays a big role in preventing Alzheimer’s disease

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Choline is a crucial nutrient that our body needs but often overlooks. It’s made in small amounts by the liver and found in various foods like eggs, broccoli, beans, meat, and poultry.

Scientists from Arizona State University have uncovered how not getting enough choline might be a missing piece in understanding Alzheimer’s disease.

Their research suggests that not having enough choline in our diet can harm our heart, liver, and other organs. More surprisingly, a lack of choline is also linked to changes in the brain that are associated with Alzheimer’s disease.

This includes the development of amyloid plaques and tau tangles, which are key features of this illness. Amyloid plaques build up between neurons, and tau tangles form inside neurons, both disrupting brain function.

The team studied this by looking at two groups of mice: normal mice fed a choline-deficient diet and genetically modified mice that already showed symptoms similar to Alzheimer’s.

They found that in both groups, not having enough choline led to liver damage, enlarged hearts, and neurological changes typical of Alzheimer’s disease.

Moreover, choline deficiency in these mice resulted in significant weight gain, changes in blood sugar levels (which could lead to diabetes), and motor skill deficits.

When it comes to humans, the issue with choline is twofold. First, most people don’t consume enough choline to meet the daily intake recommended by the Institute of Medicine.

Second, many studies suggest that even the recommended amounts may not be enough for optimal brain health.

This research is crucial because it connects physical and neurological changes with a lack of dietary choline. The findings are a wake-up call to ensure we get enough choline, especially for those on plant-based diets.

Plants like soybeans, Brussels sprouts, and some nuts are good choline sources for vegetarians and vegans.

To address choline deficiency, over-the-counter choline supplements are a simple and inexpensive solution. They can promote overall health and protect the brain from neurodegenerative effects.

For those interested in health and nutrition, this study aligns with other research on the benefits of vitamins and nutrients in preventing diseases like heart disease, cancer, high blood pressure, and dementia.

The study, led by Ramon Velazquez and published in Aging Cell, highlights the importance of choline in our diet. It offers a new perspective on preventing Alzheimer’s disease and underscores the need for proper nutrition for brain health.

If you care about brain health, please read studies about vitamin D deficiency linked to Alzheimer’s and vascular dementia, and higher magnesium intake could help benefit brain health.

For more information about brain health, please see recent studies about antioxidants that could help reduce dementia risk, and coconut oil could help improve cognitive function in Alzheimer’s.

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