A Comprehensive Review of Eggs, Choline, and Lutein on Cognition Across the Life-span

J Am Coll Nutr. 2018 May-Jun;37(4):269-285. doi: 10.1080/07315724.2017.1423248. Epub 2018 Feb 16.


In 2030, one in five Americans will be older than 65 years, and with that an increase in the number of individuals who experience loss in cognitive capacity is to be expected. At the same time, nutrition within the first 1000 days postconception has been suggested to strongly influence cognitive outcomes across the life-span in humans. Eggs are a primary source of both choline and the xanthophyll carotenoid lutein in the western diet, and both have been suggested to influence cognitive function in humans. This comprehensive review critically examines the effects of eggs, choline, and lutein on cognition across the life-span. There seems to be clear scientific evidence to suggest that both choline and lutein play a vital role in brain and neurological development during the first 1000 days postconception. The extent to which higher intakes of choline have the potential to enhance or influence cognition during childhood, adulthood, and/or age-related cognitive decline needs further investigation. Emerging but consistent research suggests that lutein has the potential to influence cognition across the life-span and that sufficient intakes during mid to late adulthood may help to ward off age-related cognitive decline. Macular pigment optical density (MPOD) seems to be a reliable and consistent biomarker of brain lutein concentrations across the life-span and potentially one for clinically assessing cognitive status. This review summarizes the current peer-reviewed literature and existing gaps in research.

Keywords: Egg; choline; cognition; lutein.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Choline*
  • Cognition / physiology*
  • Diet*
  • Eggs*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Lutein*
  • Middle Aged
  • Pregnancy
  • Young Adult


  • Choline
  • Lutein