Study: Vitamin D3 (2012) & Alzheimers
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Researchers have looked into how vitamin D regulation of cell functioning may help clear the brain of the main component of plaque - amyloid beta. They found that vitamin D3 may activate key genes and cellular signal networks in order to stimulate the immune system to remove the problematic protein.
Earlier research had found that immune cells in Alzheimer's patients may respond with a combination of curcumin (tumeric) and vitamin D3, but researchers didn't know why it was effective.
In this study researchers took blood samples from Alzheimer patients and healthy control subjects and then separated the important immune cells from the blood. These cells are called macrophages and they remove waste products from the brain and body. They had known from previous research that there two types of macrophages - those that are improved by vitamin D3, and those that are improved by the combination of D3 and curcumin.
They found that both kinds of macrophages opened a specific channel called "chloride channel 3" which supports taking away amyloid beta. They identified additional steps in the gene regulation process.
Their conclusion was that active forms of D3 may be important in the regulation of functioning of the macrophages in clearing plaque by directly regulating gene expressions and cell functioning ... and thus helpful in preventing dementia.
They indicated that the next step would be a clinical trial using vitamin D3.
Researchers: Dr. Milan Fiala, et al, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA
Published: Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, March 6, 2012.