A diagnosis of dementia can come as a shock. Even if you have been half expecting it, it is a worrying and upsetting time. It can also be hard for those close to you. This is why a recent study gives great hope for those at risk of developing the disease. A combination of vitamin D3 and curcumin, from turmeric, may boost the immune system and help it clear the protein plaques linked to Alzheimer’s, says a new study.
The non-reversible, age-related brain disorder is the most common cause of dementia among people aged 65 and over. There are three major hallmarks in the brain that are associated with the disease processes of Alzheimer’s.
- Amyloid plaques, which are made up of fragments of a protein called amyloid beta peptide mixed with a collection of additional proteins, remnants of neurons, and bits and pieces of other nerve cells.
- Neurofibrillary tangles (NFTs), found inside neurons, are abnormal collections of a protein called tau. Normal tau is required for healthy neurons. However, in Alzheimer’s, tau clumps together. As a result, neurons fail to function normally and eventually die.
- Loss of connections between neurons responsible for memory and learning. Neurons can’t survive when they lose their connections to other neurons. As neurons die throughout the brain, the affected regions begin to atrophy, or shrink. By the final stage of Alzheimer’s, damage is widespread and brain tissue has shrunk significantly.
Research published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease shows that vitamin D3 may work by activating certain genes and cell signaling networks to ramp up the immune system, which then clears away a key component of amyloid plaques called amyloid-beta protein.
The build-up of plaque from amyloid beta deposits is associated with an increase in brain cell damage and death from oxidative stress. This is related to a loss of cognitive function and an increased risk of Alzheimer’s.
In the latest study researchers at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and the Veterans Affairs Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System, have been able to clarify the key mechanisms involved as to why vitamin D3 and curcumin could be possible therapies for preventing Alzheimer’s.
Researchers conducted the study by taking blood samples from people with and without Alzheimer’s disease, and isolating particular immune cells from the blood that are responsible for clearing away the amyloid-beta protein.
Previous research by the same scientists found that there are two types of Alzheimer’s patients: Type I patients, who respond positively to vitamin D3, together with the spice curcumin), and Type II patients, who only respond to vitamin D3, to get the immune system to have its effects against amyloid-beta protein in the brain
Since vitamin D and curcumin work differently with the immune system, it may be that a combination of the two or each used alone may be more effective—depending on the individual patient.
At About Health two of our products contain vitamin D3 and turmeric; Lester’s Oil™ and Res-V® Plus / Res-V® Ultimate respectively. While the research has yet to prescribe a dose of vitamin D3 and curcumin and further studies are required in the area of alzheimer’s prevention, taking these two products daily will add multiple benefits to your life and to the lives of the ones you love.