There was found a supplement that could protect the brain from Alzheimer's disease

Choline is a safe and easy-to-administer nutrient that is naturally present in some foods and can be used as a dietary supplement. Lead author Ramon Velazquez and his colleagues at the ASU-Banner Neurodegenerative Disease Research Center (NDRC) looked into whether this nutrient could alleviate the effects of Alzheimer’s. The findings appear in the current issue of the journal Aging Cell.

Earlier this year researchers found transgenerational benefits of AD-like symptoms in mice whose mothers were supplemented with choline. The latest work expands this line of research by exploring the effects of choline administered in adulthood rather than in fetal mice. Notably, findings published in July 2019 from a group in China found benefits of lifelong choline supplementation in male mice with AD-like symptoms. 

Firstly, the beneficial effects of lifelong choline supplementation reduce the activation of microglia. Microglia are specialized cells that rid the brain of deleterious debris. Although they naturally occur to keep the brain healthy, if they are overactivated, brain inflammation and neuronal death, common symptoms of AD, will occur.

Secondly, choline blocks the production of amyloid-beta plaques. Amyloid-beta plaques are the hallmark pathology observed in Alzheimer’s disease.

The observed reductions in disease-associated microglia, which are present in various neurodegenerative diseases, offer exciting new avenues of research and suggest ways of treating a broad range of disorders, including traumatic brain injuries, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease. Although the results improve the understanding of the disease, the authors suggest that clinical trials will be necessary to confirm whether choline can be used as a viable treatment in the future.

Materials provided by Arizona State University. Original written by Richard Harth.

Oct. 1, 2019, 11:11 a.m.

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