Choline improves memory and attention in rodents

Reprinted with kind permission from Life Extension.

In a collaboration between scientists at the University of Granada in Spain, Venezuela’s Simón Bolívar University and the University of York in England, a benefit for the B vitamin choline on attention and memory has been demonstrated in research involving rats.

In an initial experiment, Hayarelis Moreno-Gudiño and her colleagues gave pregnant rats a standard diet, a diet enriched with choline or a choline-deficient diet. Ten of the animals’ offspring were selected from each group upon reaching adulthood and tested for memory retention.

While all of the animals were able to remember an object 24 hours after it was shown to them, those born to mothers who received extra choline during pregnancy were better able to recognize the object after 48 hours than animals born to mothers given a standard diet. Rats born to mothers provided with diets deficient in choline were unable to remember the object after two days, indicating a deleterious effect for prenatal choline deficiency on long term memory.

In another experiment, rats were given a diet supplemented with choline or an unsupplemented standard diet for 12 weeks prior to undergoing tests of attention. Rats that received the choline-enriched diet maintained better attention than the control group when presented a familiar stimulus and demonstrated an improvement in learning. The research was reported in the April 15, 2013 issue of the journal Behavioural Brain Research.

“These results are consistent with a role for the cholinergic system of the basal forebrain in modulation of attention,” the authors conclude. The findings suggest that supplemental choline could play an important role in prenatal nutrition, however, further studies are needed to confirm the vitamin’s benefit.

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