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Ken's Wellness Wednesdays

Phosphatidylcholine and Dementia

 

A new study, done at the University of Eastern Finland, has linked dietary intake of phosphatidylcholine to reduced risk of dementia and enhanced cognitive performance. 

Phosphatidylcholine (PC) is a source of the B-vitamin, choline. Like all B-vitamins, choline serves many functions in the body: for example, when taken with inositol and methionine (all 3 known as lipotropics), it helps to clean fatty deposits off the liver, and works to keep the arteries clean.

Choline is also required for producing the neurotransmitter, acetylcholine, required for learning, alertness, and short-term memory retrieval. Given these properties, it is no surprise that studies indicate having adequate stores of choline may prevent cognitive decline, and Alzheimer's disease. In fact, a medical drink used for treating early onset Alzheimer’s (Souvenaid) is formulated with the addition of choline (currently unavailable in North America).

The study (initiated between 1984-1989), involved analyzing 2,500 Finnish men (aged between 42 and 60) for dietary and lifestyle habits, and general health. Subjects were followed for an average of 22 years. Researchers were rigorous, ensuring that other lifestyle and nutrition related factors were accounted for, so as not to skew the results.

Results of the study concluded that the risk of dementia was 28% lower in men with the highest intake of dietary phosphatidylcholine, compared to men with the lowest intake. Those men with the highest intake of phosphatidylcholine also performed far better in tests measuring memory, and linguistic abilities. 

Associations of dietary choline intake with risk of incident dementia and with cognitive performance: the Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study. Maija P T Ylilauri, et al; The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Published: 30 July 2019   (Study)

Other Nutrients

These new findings are important information in the battle against dementia, all the more so given that the boomers are aging out, and a large number of them are going to be facing this ailment.

Two other nutrients are essential to help prevent, or stave off dementia. One is vitamin D3. A study titled “Vitamin D in dementia prevention” concluded that, “it appears crucial to maintain vitamin D concentrations at sufficiently high levels in order to slow, prevent, or improve neurocognitive decline”.

The other is vitamin B12. This study, “Metabolic vitamin B12 deficiency: a missed opportunity to prevent dementia and stroke” concluded: “Undiagnosed metabolic B12 deficiency may be an important missed opportunity for prevention of dementia and stroke; in patients with metabolic B12 deficiency, it would be prudent to offer inexpensive and nontoxic supplements of oral B12, preferably methylcobalamin or hydroxycobalamin.”

For more information on vitamin B12, see my blog on the subject (B12-Blog), and, even more important, my blog on Testing for B12, which shows how flawed current B12 tests are.

 

Sources of Phosphatidylcholine

The prime sources of PC in the diet of these Finnish men were eggs (39%) and meat (37%). PC is also available in capsules, a therapeutic dose being 3 caps per day. Years ago it was marketed as “triple strength lecithin”, which indicates how little value lecithin capsules offer. One would need to take 9 capsules of lecithin in order to see the benefits provided by 3 caps of PC. 

That being said, lecithin granules (soy based), or powder (sunflower based), is another effective way to get appreciable amounts of PC into the diet, without having to consume large amounts of eggs and meat. A tablespoon of lecithin granules, or powder, is comparable to 3 caps of PC.

I will mention here, that each serving of NutriStart’s Liposomal products (Curcumin/Resveratrol, Vitamin C, or Glutathione), contains 400 mg of PC, offering a secondary benefit to these unique products. 

 

 

 

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