[Efficacy of phosphatidylcholine] Three effects of phosphatidylcholine, from learning memory improvement to fetal brain development

[Efficacy of phosphatidylcholine] Three effects of phosphatidylcholine, from learning memory improvement to fetal brain development

Phosphatidylcholine, supports brain health and brain development

Phosphatidylcholine efficacy
1. Improvement of memory in learning tasks
2. Improvement of bipolar disorder in adolescents
3. Prevention of fetal brain development disorders

This is Jinny, the pharmacist.

There are parts of the body that most people consider most important throughout life, but which most people don't take special care of. It's the brain. In fact , brain cells begin to decline after the age of 30, and unlike other cells, it is known that they cannot be regenerated if damaged, so it is important to maintain healthy brain cells through steady management [1]. 

However, maintaining healthy brain cells is not so easy. Continuous stress and tension promote fatigue of brain cells, and psychological factors such as depression and nervousness also have an effect. Not to mention lack of sleep or excessive alcohol consumption[2]. To put it simply, it can be said that most people, from students to office workers, are in an environment where brain health is threatened.

Today, I would like to introduce ingredients that can help protect brain health, which is threatened in our daily life This ingredient, phosphatidylcholine , is not only more abundant in brain cells than other cells, but also used in the synthesis of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that regulates learning and memory formation in our brain .

Phosphatidylcholine is a phospholipid similar to phosphatidylserine, known as a functional ingredient for brain health, and is characterized by the fact that the head of the molecule is choline. In a cohort study, the relationship between intake of phosphatidylcholine and language ability and memory was also identified [3]. Now, let's take a closer look at phosphatidylcholine through academic research.

[1,2] Ministry of Food and Drug Safety, Food Safety Nara, Functional Information on Health Functional Food <Cognitive Ability>, <Memory>

[3] Ylilauri, M., Voutilainen, S., Lönnroos, E., Virtanen, HE, Tuomainen, TP, Salonen, JT, & Virtanen, JK (2019). Associations of dietary choline intake with risk of incident dementia and with cognitive performance: the Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 110(6), 1416-1423.


1. Improving memory in learning tasks

Earlier, I mentioned that phosphatidylcholine is used in the synthesis of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that regulates learning and memory formation. It has been consistently reported that acetylcholine regulates various cognitive functions in extensive studies accumulated in the academic world over the past decades, and it has been proven in many studies that learning ability and memory are improved when acetylcholine is secreted or used [4]. 

Then, will learning ability and memory be improved by ingesting phosphatidylcholine, which is used in the synthesis of acetylcholine ? Ladd, S. L and researchers (1993) conducted a human application test to answer these questions. It is reported that in the human application test targeting 80 college students, significant improvement in explicit memory* was observed following the intake of phosphatidylcholine .

* Explicit memory: It is a type of long-term memory, meaning memory that can be consciously recognized. It is also called declarative memory because it can be expressed verbally, and it is representative of storing and recalling knowledge acquired through learning [5].

[4] Gold, PE (2003). Acetylcholine modulation of neural systems involved in learning and memory. Neurobiology of learning and memory, 80(3), 194-210.

[5] Doosan Encyclopedia <External Memory>

"After 90 minutes of phosphatidylcholine intake, significant improvements in explicit memory as measured by the learning task were measured in the phosphatidylcholine intake group."
Reference paper:  Ladd, SL, Sommer, SA, LaBerge, S., & Toscano, W. (1993). Effect of phosphatidylcholine on explicit memory. Clinical Neuropharmacology, 16, 540-548


2. Adolescent bipolar disorder improvement

Bipolar disorder, also called manic -depressive disorder, is a mood disorder that is characterized by recurrent episodes of manic, high-confidence, and depressed states. In several studies, it has been identified as a problem in brain cell function and neural network, and is known to be caused by genetic factors, biochemical imbalance in the brain, and stress [6].

As such, bipolar disorder is caused by various causes, but problems in the function of brain cells and neural networks are observed in common. Accordingly, a human application test was conducted to find out whether phosphatidylcholine, which can help the composition of brain cells and neurotransmitters, can contribute to the improvement of bipolar disorder. It is reported that improvement of adolescent bipolar disorder and insomnia by genetic factors was observed following supplementation of phosphatidylcholine .

[6] National Mental Health Service Portal, National Mental Health Service Portal Medical Information <Type 1 Bipolar Disorder>, <Type 2 Bipolar Disorder>

"In a case of an adolescent who had persistent bipolar disorder and insomnia for 5 months despite receiving medication, supplementation with phosphatidylcholine showed recovery of normal sleep patterns and improvement of bipolar disorder."
Reference Paper: Rao, S., Lam, MH, Wing, YK, Yim, LC, Chu, WC, Yeung, VS, & Waye, MM (2015). Beneficial effect of phosphatidylcholine supplementation in alleviation of hypomania and insomnia in a Chinese bipolar hypomanic boy and a possible explanation to the effect at the genetic level. SpringerPlus, 4(1), 1-8.


3. Prevention of delayed fetal brain development

As mentioned at the beginning, phosphatidylcholine is abundantly distributed in the brain in our body. Furthermore , it is known that phosphatidylcholine is one of the major phospholipids constituting cell membranes, and can contribute to regulating gene expression and regulating biological metabolism [7]. 

Because of the physiological importance of phosphatidylcholine, the effects of maternal phosphatidinecholine intake on the fetus have also drawn attention from the academic world. Ross, RG and researchers (2013) conducted a human application trial with 100 healthy pregnant women. This study reports that phosphatidylcholine supplementation from the 2nd trimester to 3 months postpartum prevents delayed fetal brain development .

[7] Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Encyclopedia of Biochemistry <Phosphatidylcholine>

"Delays in fetal and neonatal brain development are associated with attentional problems as the child grows. Maternal phosphatidylcholine intake during the perinatal period, from 20 weeks of gestation to postpartum, activates normal development of the fetal cerebrum, which is a genetic predisposition to delay brain development. The same appeared even when there was an enemy factor."
Reference paper:  Ross, RG, Hunter, SK, McCarthy, L., Beuler, J., Hutchison, AK, Wagner, BD, ... & Freedman, R. (2013). Perinatal choline effects on neonatal pathophysiology related to later schizophrenia risk. American Journal of Psychiatry, 170(3), 290-298.


Today, we looked at research reports on phosphatidylcholine, an ingredient that can help with precious brain health. Taken together, phosphatidylcholine appears to be helpful for memory and mood disorders similar to phosphatidylserine , and similar to choline, it is thought to be helpful for fetal brain and cognitive development when taken by mothers .

In addition , it can be said that the intake safety is quite high in that there were no side effects on the mother and baby in the human application test for pregnant women . Of course, if you actually want to take a phosphatidylcholine-containing product during pregnancy or lactation, you may need to be careful about other ingredients, so you should not forget to consult with your doctor.

I hope you have a healthy day in body and mind. It was Jinny.

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