Los Angeles: Vitamin D and curcumin could help rid the brain of Alzheimer’s plaques, according to scientists at the University of California Riverside and Los Angeles.
They have found that a combination of vitamin D3 and a synthetic form of curcumin could help remove amyloid beta from the brains of Alzheimers disease patients. The research was published in the July, 2009 issue of the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.
Amyloid beta accumulates in the brain when the innate immune system fails to clear it. The substance forms the plaques that, along with neurofibrillary tangles, characterize Alzheimers disease. For their research, Dr Milan Fiala of UCLAs David Geffen School of Medicine and his associates tested the effects vitamin D and curcuminoids, which are synthetic forms of the compound curcumin, on white blood cells known as monocytes derived from nine men and women with Alzheimers disease, one man with mild cognitive impairment, and three control subjects. Monocytes are immune system cells that transform into macrophages which travel through the body to consume waste products, including amyloid beta.
The team found that vitamin D3 significantly stimulated phagocytosis and clearance of amyloid beta while protecting against programmed cell death. Specific curcuminoids increased amyloid beta clearance by enhancing its surface binding to macrophages.
Synthetic forms of curcumin were tested in the current experiments due to challenges with natural curcumins ability to absorb and remain stable. Nevertheless, previous research conducted by the team found that not all Alzheimers disease patients respond to curcuminoids.
“We hope that vitamin D3 and curcumin, both naturally occurring nutrients, may offer new preventive and treatment possibilities for Alzheimer’s disease,” stated Dr Fiala. “Since vitamin D and curcumin work differently with the immune system, we may find that a combination of the two or each used alone may be more effective depending on the individual patient.”
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