Vitamin D3, Curcumin (2009) & Alzheimers

Learn more about Alzheimer's disease.

Researchers investigated reports that a combination of vitamin D3 and curcumin (a chemical in tumeric) could help stimulate the immune system to clear the brain of amyloid beta, a component of plaque in the brains of Alzheimer's patients.

Note: Later research has discovered that there are two types of macrophages that remove waste, including amyloid beta, and that one type responds well to vitamin D3 and the other responds well to the combination of vitamin D3 and curcumin.

This small study involved three controls, nine Alzheimer patients, and one patient with mild mental impairment. The researchers took blood samples and isolated the cells that transform into macrophages. They incubated the macrophages with vitamin D3, synthetic or natural curcumin and amyloid beta.

They found that the naturally occurring curcumin was not as readily absorbed as the synthetic, rendering it less effective. Editor's note this may be because natural turmeric is less easily absorbed into the body when it is uncooked. It is always recommended to dry roast or cook turmeric in oil prior to adding it to food, or taking it as an herbal remedy.

They found that the curcumin caused amyloid beta to bind more readily to macrophages and that vitamin D3 strongly stimulated the taking up and absorption of amyloid beta.

Researchers: John Cashman, et al, Human BioMolecular Research Institute, Unviersity of California, UCLA.

Published: Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, July, 2009.