July 17, 2009

Vitamin D, spice may fight Alzheimer’s

Vitamin D and turmeric spice might help stimulate the immune system to clear the brain of plaques linked to Alzheimer's disease, U.S. researchers said.

The findings, published in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, may lead to preventing and treating Alzheimer's by utilizing the property of vitamin D3, a form of vitamin D, alone and together with natural or synthetic curcumin, a chemical found in turmeric, to protect the brain against amyloid beta plaques.

We hope that vitamin D3 and curcumin, both naturally occurring nutrients, may offer new preventive and treatment possibilities for Alzheimer's disease, study author Dr. Milan Fiala of the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles, said in a statement.

Scientists isolated monocyte cells, which transform into macrophages that act as the immune system's clean-up crew, traveling through the brain and body and gobbling up waste products, including amyloid beta.

Researchers incubated the macrophages with vitamin D3, natural or synthetic curcumin and amyloid beta.

The team discovered synthetic curcuminoids enhanced the surface binding of amyloid beta to macrophages and that vitamin D strongly stimulated the uptake and absorption of amyloid beta in macrophages in a majority of patients.

Fiala noted this is early research and no dosage of vitamin D or curcumin can be recommended yet.