Lifelong choline supplements may prevent the onset of Alzheimer's disease

Alzheimer's researcher of Research Center and Advanced Studies (CINVESTAV), shows a victims' brain
Alzheimer's researcher of Research Center and Advanced Studies. Reuters

Life-long dietary supplements of choline may prevent the onset of Alzheimer's disease which affects more than one million people over the age of 65 years living across the world, a study has suggested.

Choline can alleviate the effects of Alzheimer's because the safe and easy-to-administer nutrient reduces the activation of microglia which are specialized cells that rid the brain of deleterious debris, lead author Ramon Velazquez and his colleagues at the Neurodegenerative Disease Research Center said.

The findings of the study, which focuses on female mice bred to develop Alzheimer's like symptoms, showed the mice exhibited improvements in spatial memory when given high choline in their diet throughout life than those receiving a normal choline regimen.

The nutrient, naturally present in some foods, had transgenerational benefits of Alzheimer's like symptoms in mice whose mothers were supplemented with choline, prompting researchers to explore the effects of choline administered in adulthood rather than in fetal mice, researchers said.

The researchers estimated that the population of Alzheimer's affected people will expand to more than 131.5 million across the world by 2050, highlighting the need for pursual of new battleground tactics in the war against the neurodegenerative disease.

Velazquez said his study nicely replicated in females, this year's findings of a Chinese group which showed benefits of lifelong choline supplementation in male mice with AD-like symptoms.

Microglia, which naturally occur to keep the brain healthy, in case of overactivation cause brain inflammation and neuronal death, common symptoms of Alzheimer's, said the findings presented in the journal Aging Cell.

Alzheimer's, the most prevalent neurodegenerative disorder worldwide, is characterized by impairments in cognition, memory, and intellectual disabilities.

According to Alzheimer's Disease International, age and a strong family history of dementia, apart from excessive alcohol consumption, head injury and heart diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetes, smoking and overweight, are risk factors with a strong link to dementia.

While the disease currently has no cure, but keeping active, eating well, and promoting good brain health by reading, engaging in a hobby such as playing bridge or chess or doing crosswords and word puzzles may help reduce risk.

Researches in the past suggest that those who speak multiple languages or play musical instruments may also have a lower risk of dementia.