In a mouse-model of cognitive impairment, scientists investigated the impact of long-term treatment of mice with choline, a B vitamin-like nutrient. Choline is important in brain health, and an essential building block for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. It is found in meat, eggs, milk, and vegetables (e.g., Brussels sprouts). The scientists used a breed of mice that consistently develop cognitive impairment early in their lives, which progresses as they age. In the experiment, one group was fed a normal diet and the other group was fed a diet supplemented with 4.5 times the normal amount of choline. The scientists tested the mice as they aged and found that choline supplementation significantly reduced memory loss. They also found significant improvements in brain chemistry of the choline-supplemented mice. The researchers note that many adults, particularly women, do not receive the recommended levels of choline in their diets: 425 mg/day for women and 550 mg/day for men. While this study was performed in mice, it indicates the importance of a healthy diet that includes the recommended level of choline. Further study needs to be done to determine if excess choline supplementation may benefit those with MCI.
Velazquez R, et al. Lifelong choline supplementation ameliorates Alzheimer’s disease pathology and associated cognitive deficits by attenuating microglia activation. Aging Cell. 2019;18:e13037. doi:10.1111/acel.13037.