08 Aug Nutritional Choline Linked to Lower Risk of Dementia
MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Jyrki Virtanen, PhD
Assistant professor of nutritional epidemiology
University of Eastern Finland
Institute of Public Health and Clinical Nutrition
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Response: We have previously found in this same eastern Finnish male study population that higher egg intake was associated with lower risk of developing dementia and with better performance in tests assessing cognitive capacity. Eggs are a major source of choline, especially phosphatidylcholine, and choline (which is an essential nutrient) is necessary for the formation of acetylcholine, which is a neurotransmitter.
Earlier studies have linked choline intake with better cognitive processing but there was no information whether choline intake would also be associated with lower risk of developing dementia. So the purpose of our current study was to investigate whether higher choline intake would associate with better cognitive performance and with lower risk of dementia, which would support our previous findings with egg intake.
And in the current study we did find that especially higher phosphatidylcholine intake was associated with a lower risk of developing dementia and also with better performance in tests measuring memory and linguistic abilities of the men in the study.
MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?
Response: At the moment there is not enough research data to make any strong recommendations regarding choline (or egg) intake in the prevention of dementia, so there is no need to start eating a lot of eggs in hopes of preventing memory loss.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?
Response: Our findings should be repeated in other population studies and we would also definitely need evidence from experimental studies that would investigate whether increasing egg intake could lead to better performance in tests assessing cognitive capacity, compared to eating very little egg.
Disclosures: The study was funded by the University of Eastern Finland and by grants from Finnish research foundations. There was no industry funding.
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
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