Vitamin D and Omega-3s Shown to Fight Plaque Responsible for Alzheimer's
The build-up of plaque in the brain from amyloid-beta deposits has been linked to an increase in brain cell damage and an increased risk of Alzheimer's disease. A recent study suggests that vitamin D3 and the omega-3 fatty acid DHA may help remove the plaque.
The researchers took blood samples from patients with Alzheimer’s disease and from healthy patients and isolated immune cells known as macrophages. Macrophages consume amyloid-beta and other waste products in the brain and body.
The cells were incubated overnight with amyloid-beta and either vitamin D3, or the omega-3 fatty acid DHA. The researchers found that both of the supplements improved the macrophages’ capability to breakdown the amyloid-beta deposits and also reduced the cell death caused by amyloid-beta.
Inflammation has also been linked to an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease, and the researchers noted increased inflammation in the cells of some of the participants. This suggests that the balance of vitamin D and omega-3s would have to be customized for each Alzheimer’s disease patient in order to avoid increased inflammation.
The study was conducted by researchers at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. It was published on January 1, 2013, in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease.
Vitamin D has been associated with a wide range of health benefits, including improved kidney health, reductions in the risk of skin cancer, reducing the risk of osteoporosis, improved cardiovascular health, combating diabetes, and improving age related eye degeneration.
Omega-3s have been shown to reduce inflammation, improve mood, improve joint mobility, reduce the risk of age related macular degeneration, and boost the immune system.