Alzheimer's Update - New Breakthrough Study

Posted on Monday, July 27, 2009 in
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Vitamin D & Curcumin Offers Brain Health Potential

A new study published in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease shows promise that vitamin D and Curcumin (from the turmeric root) may boost the immune system and help it clear the beta-amyloid protein plaques linked to Alzheimer’s.

The build-up of plaque from beta-amyloid deposits is associated with an increase in brain cell damage and death from oxidative stress. This is related to a loss of cognitive function and an increased risk of Alzheimer's, the most common form of dementia and currently affects over 13 million people worldwide.

The direct and indirect cost of Alzheimer care in the United States is over $100 Billion dollars, while direct costs in the UK are estimated at $31 Billion dollars.

"We hope that vitamin D3 and curcumin, both naturally occurring nutrients, may offer new preventive and treatment possibilities for Alzheimer's disease," said Dr Milan Fiala from the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA).

Study Details

Monocyte cells, which transform into macrophages and in turn boost the immune system, were isolated from blood samples taken from nine Alzheimer's patients, one patient with mild cognitive impairment and three healthy control subjects.

The macrophages were then incubated with beta-amyloid, vitamin D3 and natural or synthetic curcumin. The synthetic curcuminoid compounds were developed in the laboratory of John Cashman at the Human BioMolecular Research Institute.

The naturally occurring curcumin was found to be poorly absorbed, making it less effective than the synthetic curcuminoids, said the researchers. “We think some of the novel synthetic compounds will get around the shortcomings of curcumin and improve the therapeutic efficacy,” said Cashman.

Super Curcumin C3 Complex

Note: A more potent, bio-available form of curcumin is available than used in the study called Super Curcumin C3 Complex from Sabinsa Corp. Read Sacred Northern India Cancer Secret Revealed to learn more about it. (Wayne comment)

The curcuminoids were found to enhance binding of beta-amyloid to macrophages, and that vitamin D could strongly stimulate the uptake and absorption of beta-amyloid in macrophages in most of the patients.

Previous research by the same scientists found that there are two types of Alzheimer's patients: Type I patients, who respond positively to curcuminoids, and Type II patients, who do not. This depends on the genes MGAT III and TLR-3 that are associated with the immune system's ability to better ingest amyloid beta, said the researchers.

"Since vitamin D and curcumin work differently with the immune system, we may find that a combination of the two or each used alone may be more effective - depending on the individual patient," said Fiala.

The UCLA researchers stressed that the research is still in its early stages and that no doses of either compound can be recommended at this point. They noted that larger vitamin D and curcumin studies with more patients are planned.

Source: Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease
Stephen Daniells, 27-Jul-2009

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