New diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease cases continue to mount at an unprecedented rate, threatening both the lives of those suffering from this dreaded illness and the health care system itself, as billions are spent to care for the millions suffering from this lifestyle-mediated disease. New hope is now offered by scientists from the University of California publishing in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, as they have identified the specific intracellular mechanism regulated by vitamin D3 that may help the body clear the brain of amyloid beta.
There has been scant evidence in the past to show that vitamin D and the curry-derived compound, curcumin help to prevent Alzheimer’s dementia. Researchers now provide solid research-based science to explain the precise pathway used by these two natural substances to help stimulate the immune system to activate key genes involved in clearing the amyloid-beta protein.
Chief study author, Dr. Milan Fiala noted “This new study helped clarify the key mechanisms involved, which will help us better understand the usefulness of vitamin D3 and curcumin as possible therapies for Alzheimer’s disease.” Prior research has suggested a synergistic effect between the two compounds and clearance of deadly protein tangles, but no action pathway has ever been postulated until now.
Vitamin D3 and curcumin work together to clear deadly brain plaques
To test their hypothesis, scientists took blood samples from a group of currently diagnosed Alzheimer’s disease patients and a control group of healthy volunteers. They then isolated the immune-stimulating component of the white blood cells called macrophages. These special cells are known to target and eliminate amyloid fibrils and other waste products that accumulate in the brain before they manifest into detectable disease conditions.
Researchers then incubated some of the extracted immune cells for a 24-hour period in a solution containing the active form of vitamin D3 (1a, 25-dihydroxyvitamin D3). Other cells were exposed to a standardized curcumin extract. Past studies have shown that there are two types of macrophages, Type I and Type II that independently perform different functions, yet must work together to effectively remove amyloid protein in the brain.
The scientists found that Type I macrophage activity is greatly enhanced with optimal saturation of vitamin D3, and Type II immune cells are supported by the presence of curcumin. Researchers found that the action of both Type I and II macrophages are greatly enhanced by the synergistic application of vitamin D3 and curcumin together. Dr. Fiala concluded “Our findings demonstrate that active forms of vitamin D3 (and curcumin) may be an important regulator of immune activities of macrophages in helping to clear amyloid plaques.”
Proof positive now exists to support maintaining optimal blood saturation levels (50 to 70 ng/mL) of vitamin D as measured using the simple and inexpensive 25(OH)D test. Most people will need to supplement with 5,000 to 7,000 IU of vitamin D3 per day or rely on sun exposure to obtain ideal levels. Adding curcumin to your regular diet using natural curry-enriched foods or supplementing (300 to 500 mg per day standardized to 95 percent total curcuminoids) will provide a synergistic effect shown to help clear brain tangles and prevent Alzheimer’s dementia.
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