The chemical acetylcholine (ACh) is produced in an area just above the brain stem and is present throughout the brain. It is involved in voluntary and involuntary muscle movement, as well as in the formation of long-term memory. At night, when memory consolidation takes place, there are higher levels of acetylcholine present, and it turns out that many of our dreams are caused by this chemical. Most importantly, acetylcholine assists with communication from neuron to neuron.
So how do you make sure your brain is producing adequate amounts of acetylcholine? Choline is one of the ingredients that goes into producing acetylcholine and is found in eggs, salmon, liver, soy and lean beef. These foods all help raise choline levels because they contain lecithin, which has been connected to having a positive impact on memory recall. Hmm, it looks like not all fats are bad for your health and what you eat actually can make a difference to your brain’s health!
What happens if there are not proper quantities of acetylcholine? Apparently this is what happens to patients with Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases. Aricept is a drug that is possibly slowing the breakdown of acetylcholine in Alzheimer’s patients and you can see a video of how it is believed to work at the Aricept site.