Effects of egg yolk choline intake on cognitive functions and plasma choline levels in healthy middle-aged and older Japanese: a randomized double-blinded placebo-controlled parallel-group study

Soyogu Yamashita, Naoki Kawada,Wei Wang,Kenta Susaki, Yumi Takeda,Mamoru Kimura, Yoshitaka Iwama, Yutaka Miura,Michihiro Sugano,Ryosuke Matsuoka

Lipids in health and disease(2023)

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Background Choline, as a neurotransmitter acetylcholine precursor, is reportedly associated with cognitive function. Although there are several cohort and animal studies on choline-containing foods and cognitive function, only a few interventional studies were reported. Egg yolk is a rich source of different choline-containing chemical forms, such as phosphatidylcholine (PC), lysophosphatidylcholine (LPC), and α-glycerophosphocholine (α-GPC). This study aimed to investigate the effect of consuming 300 mg of egg yolk choline per day on cognitive function of Japanese adults. Methods A 12-week, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel-group study was conducted in 41 middle-aged and elderly males and females (43.9% female) aged ≥ 60 years and ≤ 80 years without dementia. Participants were randomly assigned to placebo and choline groups. The choline group received a supplement containing egg yolk choline (300 mg/day), and the placebo group received an egg yolk supplement free from choline for 12 weeks. Assessments of Cognitrax, Trail Making Tests (TMT) part A and B, the MOS 36-Item Short-Form Health Survey (SF-36), the Simplified Japanese Version of the WHO-Five Well-Being Index (WHO-5), and plasma choline levels were performed before and 6 and 12 weeks after supplement intake. In the present study, 19 subjects (9 in the placebo group and 10 in the choline group) were excluded due to the violation of the discontinuation criteria or participant compliance, and 41 subjects were analyzed. Results The change amount of verbal memory scores and verbal memory test-correct hit (delay) was significantly higher in the choline group than in the placebo group at baseline-6 and baseline-12 weeks. The plasma free choline level was significantly higher in the choline group compared with the placebo group at 6 weeks. Conversely, the choline group showed significantly lower Cognitrax processing speed scores, symbol digit coding testing correct responses, and SF-36 physical quality of life summary scores compared to the placebo group at 6 weeks. Conclusions The results suggested that continued 300 mg/day intake of egg yolk choline improved verbal memory, which is a part of cognitive functions. To confirm the observed effects of egg yolk choline, more well-designed and large-scale studies are warranted. Trial registration Study protocols were pre-registered in the Clinical Trials Registration System (UMIN-CTR) (UMIN 000045050).
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