Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Choline & Our Brain

Brain may be starving. It may lack a vital nutrient one need to think and remember. This vital brain booster is choline. Our brain uses it to make acetylcholine, one of your key neurotransmitters – the chemicals our brain needs to transmit signals and messages.
Acetylcholine is the neurotransmitter of memory and muscle stimulation. It’s responsible for muscle control, sleep, arousal, attention, memory, intelligence and mood. Your brain needs a constant, rich supply of choline to keep all of these functions going strong.
Without acetylcholine one can’t string thoughts together or have full access to memory. So you can imagine not having enough can lead to real problems. Forgetting keys, can be an early symptom of choline deficiency. Research shows people with a variety of mental illnesses are severely lacking in choline. The brain scans of people suffering from both mild cognitive impairment and full-blown Alzheimer’s showed these diseases are directly related to low choline levels.
Several recent studies found choline can slow and even reverse the onset of dementia and improve memory and attention. We’ve known for years that if our brain is starved of choline, it starts to “steal” choline from other sources, like your cell membranes. This process is called “auto-cannibalism.” When this happens your brain starts “eating itself alive” to maintain daily functions. But over time, the problems just get worse. It’s one of the reasons why you see a rapid decline in brainpower among older folks—and this process is behind the onset of depression, poor sleep, Alzheimer’s, and worse.
How to stop this from happening?
The first thing is to make sure you get enough choline-rich foods in your diet. Here’s a list for easy reference:
Egg Yolk (raw, fresh)- 682.4
Eggs (whole, cooked)-272.6
Chicken liver (all kinds, simmered)- 290.1
Turkey liver (cooked, simmered)- 220.2
Pork (cured, bacon, cooked, pan-fried)-130.8
Spices (mustard seed, yellow)-122.6
Cauliflower (cooked, boiled, drained)-39.1
Artichokes (cooked, boiled, drained)-34.4
Green peas (frozen, cooked)-27.6
Spinach (whole leaf, frozen, microwaved)-27.5
Red Cabbage (cooked, boiled, drained)-21.5
Source: USDA Database for the Choline Content of Common Foods, March 2004
Men need more choline than women per day, about 550 mg compared to 425 mg for women. But with increase in age the need of choline is more. Many experienced physicians advice older patients as much as 1,500 mg per day to get the maximum brain-boosting benefit.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.