Scientists at the University of California Riverside and Los Angeles report that a combination of vitamin D3 and a form of Curcumin with superior absorption could help remove amyloid beta from the brains of Alzheimers disease patients. Amyloid beta accumulates in the brain when the brains immune system fails to clear it. The substance forms the plaques that, along with neurofibrillary tangles, characterize Alzheimers disease. The researchers at UCLAs David Geffen School of Medicine tested the effects of vitamin D and Curcuminoids on white blood cells known as monocytes derived from nine men and women with Alzheimers disease, one man with mild cognitive impairment, and three control subjects who had normal cognitive function. Monocytes are immune system cells that transform into macrophages which travel through the body to consume waste products, including amyloid beta protein through a process called phagocytosis.
The team found that vitamin D3 significantly stimulated phagocytosis and clearance of amyloid beta while protecting against programmed cell death. Specific Curcuminoids increased amyloid beta clearance by increasing its binding to macrophages. “We hope that vitamin D3 and Curcumin, both naturally occurring nutrients, may offer new preventive and treatment possibilities for Alzheimer's disease,” stated Dr Fiala; the studies lead author. The research was published in the July, 2009 issue of the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease.