Vitamin D and Omega-3s Found to Assist Against Alzheimer’s
Approximately 5.4 million Americans are now living with Alzheimer’s disease. While direct treatment of this disorder has proven challenging, a promising approach is to address the affliction indirectly through treatment of the associated physiological changes that either precede Alzheimer’s or occur alongside it.
One such symptom is the accumulation of amyloid plaques in the brain, thought to interfere with the architecture of brain tissue and the neurological system as a whole. Recently, however, a team of academic researchers has pinpointed how vitamin D3 and omega-3 fatty acids may enhance the immune system’s ability to clear the brain of these amyloid plaques.
For the study, scientists drew blood samples from both Alzheimer’s patients and healthy control subjects. They then extracted specific cells known as macrophages; these are the immune cells responsible for absorbing waste products in the brain and body, and they are also effective at removing amyloid-beta, the amyloid associated with Alzheimer’s.
Researchers incubated the immune cells overnight with amyloid-beta, and then treated them in vitro with vitamin D3 and the omega-3 fatty acid docosahexaenoic acid (or DHA). Active forms of both vitamin D3 and improved the ability of the Alzheimer’s disease patients’ macrophages to absorb amyloid-beta, as well as inhibiting the cell death amyloid-beta causes.
“Our new study sheds further light on a possible role for nutritional substances such as vitamin D3 and omega-3 in boosting immunity to help fight Alzheimer’s,” said study author Dr. Milan Fiala of the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.
Along with recent research suggesting vitamin D and omega-3 deficiency may impact cognitive health in the long term, this study supports the contention that these two nutrients provide an asset to preventative nutrition regarding Alzheimer’s, along with their other benefits. Although additional advances will surely be made, those looking for basic cognitive support would do well to include one or both of these compounds to their nutritional support plan.
Article by: Sean Wells