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Eating eggs and lowering the risk of Alzheimer’s

The below article was issued for the South African Poultry Association (SAPA) by Protactic Strategic Communications

Every 68 seconds, someone develops Alzheimer’s disease. By 2050, it is expected that there will be a new case of Alzheimer’s disease every 33 seconds.1 These concerning statistics are why Alzheimer’s organisations around the world come together on 21 September 2021 to observe World Alzheimer’s Day.2 To add to this important day, we also acknowledge eggs, which research has shown may positively help with lowering the risk of Alzheimer’s.

Published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition,3 researchers in Finland tracked the diets of almost 2 500 participants for almost 22 years. Those who ate one egg a day were less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, and also had better performance on neuropsychological tests.

So, what’s the link between eating eggs and Alzheimer’s? Eggs contain a nutrient called choline, which the brain uses to make acetylcholine. Acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter, one of the brain chemicals that helps the brain cells to communicate with each other. This chemical is also responsible for memory and mood, as well as muscle control. For this reason, choline is getting more and more attention as a powerful nutrient in brain health and not meeting our choline needs is being linked to negative neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s.4

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia, affecting memory, thinking and behaviour. It is a progressive disease, meaning that symptoms worsen over time and eventually become severe enough to interfere with daily tasks. Though most people with Alzheimer’s disease are 65 years and older, the disease is not a normal part of aging.5

Given the debilitating and upsetting nature of Alzheimer’s, there remains a worldwide effort to find new ways to treat it, delay its onset, and prevent its progression. While no cure exists, many treatments and medications may help temporarily improve symptoms.

In commemoration of World Alzheimer’s Day, serve up some eggs! Whether enjoyed as quick scrambled eggs at breakfast or a hearty frittata for dinner, eggs can be added to the menu any time of the day.

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Photo by Rasa Kasparaviciene on Unsplash

 

References:

  1. Alzheimer’s Association, 2012. Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures. Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia. 8(2),131-68. Doi: 10.1016/j.jalz.2012.02.001.
  2. Alzheimer’s Disease International. World Alzheimer’s Month. Available from: https://www.alzint.org/get-involved/world-alzheimers-month/. Accessed on 01 September 2021.
  3. Ylilauri, M.P.T., Voutilainen, S., Leonnroos, E.L., Mursu, J., Virtanen, H.E.K., Koskinen, T.T. et al., 2017. Association of dietary cholesterol and egg intakes with the risk of incident dementia or Alzheimer disease: the Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 105, 476–84.
  4. Beckdash, R.A., 2019. Neuroprotective Effects of Choline and Other Methyl Donors. Nutrients. 11, 2995. Ddoi:10.3390/nu11122995
  5. Alzheimer’s Association. What is Alzheimer’s Disease? Available from: https://www.alz.org/alzheimers-dementia/what-is-alzheimers. Accessed on 01 September 2021.
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