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Choline Linked With Improved Brain Functioning

Previous studies have found a link between diet and nutrition and the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease. Researchers from the Boston University School of Medicine recently completed a new study showing that dietary choline intake may improve cognitive functioning and memory.

Choline is an essential nutrient that is usually grouped within the B-complex vitamins.

The findings were published in the December 2011 issue of American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

The researchers examined data from the Framingham Offspring study, which ran from 1991 to 1995 and from 1998 to 2001. The study included 1,391 adults between the ages of 36 and 83. All of the participants were dementia free at the onset.

A food frequency questionnaire was issued during both time periods. Additionally, all of the participants underwent a neuropsychological exam and a brain MRI in the second time period. In the exam, the researchers tested verbal memory, visual memory, verbal learning, and executive function.

Analysis of this data showed that higher choline intake resulted in better performance on memory tests. The researchers also found that participants with higher choline intake were less likely to show areas of white-matter hypersensitivity in the MRI brain scans. Areas of white-matter hypersensitivity are believed to be a sign of blood vessel disease.

The researchers noted, however, that the differences were small and that more research is needed to determine the exact effect of choline intake on brain functionality.

Choline performs many of the same functions in the human body as vitamin B. It has been linked with prevention of accumulation of liver fats, helping muscles function, keeping cholesterol at a healthy level and promoting cell growth.

Choline can be found in saltwater fish, eggs, liver, chicken, milk, and some legumes. If these foods are not a part of your daily diet, consider making some changes or adding a high quality supplement.

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