Dynamic Duo Shows Promise for Alzheimer's Prevention and Treatment
A combination of vitamin D3 and curcumin may boost the immune system and clear beta-amyloid deposits (protein plaques linked to Alzheimer's), says a recent study published in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease.
Curcumin is the source of the popular spice Tumeric, the main spice in curries and many other spicy Asian dishes. Curcumin is what gives curry its characteristic bright yellow color and distinctive spicy taste.
For the study, UCLA researchers took blood samples from 9 Alzheimer's patients, 1 patient with mild cognitive impairment and 3 healthy control subjects.
The researchers then isolated certain white blood cells which are key players in the immune system response to foreign substances.
The primary purpose of the study was to determine the effect of vitamin D3 and curcumin on harmful beta-amyloid. The build-up of plaque from beta-amyloid deposits is associated with an increase in brain cell damage and death from oxidative stress. This destruction of brain cells is related to loss of cognitive function and an increased risk of Alzheimer's.
In the study, the researchers found that curcumin enhances the binding of beta-amyloid to the white blood cells. This makes it easier for the body to absorb and neutralize the beta-amyloid before it can lead to plaque build-up in brain cells.
As important, it was also found that vitamin D3 strongly stimulates the absorption of beta-amyloid by the white blood cells.
By improving both the binding and absorption of beta-amyloid, less of this harmful molecule will be in circulation to attach to and harm healthy brain cells and hopefully reduce the risk of Alzheimer's.
The research is still in its early stages and therefore no specific dose of either compound can be recommended. However, these findings show great promise as a natural way to prevent and treat Alzheimer's and generally boost the immune system.
Continued research into the prevention of Alzheimer's is gaining importance due to the aging populations and soaring rates of Alzheimer's. The direct and indirect costs of the disease are staggering, with the US alone spending over 100 billion dollars annually.