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Vitamin D Plus Curcumin May Treat or Prevent Alzheimer's Disease: - Article
Vitamin D Plus Curcumin May Treat or Prevent Alzheimer's Disease: - Article

Vitamin D Plus Curcumin May Treat or Prevent Alzheimer's Disease: - Article
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Vitamin D Plus Curcumin May Prevent and Treat Alzheimer's Disease.

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Alzheimer's is a debilitating disease that causes severe degeneration of brain tissue. Plaque deposits accumulate in the spaces between brain cells. The cells themselves form twisted, spaghetti-like masses called "neurofibrillary tangles." Why these changes happen in the brains of some people but not others remains a matter of speculation. Scientists are unsure as to which of these abnormalities occurs first, the plaque or the tangles. What triggers them in the first place is not known for certain. One leading theory involves a protein called "amyloid" that builds up on the surface of brain cells in Alzheimer's sufferers. An especially sticky form of amyloid protein fills up the plaque deposits observed in Alzheimer's disease. As the amyloid laden plaque deposits grow, they trigger an inflammatory immune reaction that begins to destroy the surrounding brain neurons. Amyloid synthesis is controlled by an enzyme called "secretase." Researchers are now developing a class of drugs called secretase inhibitors that may be able to inhibit excess production of amyloid in people with Alzheimer's disease.

Vitamin D is known as the "sunshine" vitamin because it is formed in the body by the action of the sun's ultraviolet rays on the skin. The fat-soluble vitamin is converted in the kidneys to the hormone calcitrol, which is actually the most active form of vitamin D. The effects of this hormone are targeted at the intestines and bones.

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The rhizome and root of turmeric has been used for centuries in the Indian medical practice of Ayurveda. Indian practitioners have used turmeric as a tonic for the stomach and liver and as purifier of the blood. Research suggests that turmeric may have unique anti-inflammatory properties. Scientists think the active components in turmeric, called curcuminoids, may inhibit inflammation in a manner similar to that of conventional drugs like ibuprofen, aspirin and more recently the new Cox-2 inhibitors.

New research has found that a combination of vitamin D3 and curcumin may boost the immune system and protect the brain from Alzheimer's disease. The study, published in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, included nine patients with Alzheimer's disease, one patient with mild cognitive decline and three healthy control subjects. Blood samples were taken from each of the participants and the researchers isolated the monocyte cells, which transform into macrophages and in turn boost the immune system. The macrophages were then incubated with beta-amyloid, vitamin D3 and natural or synthetic curcumin. The researchers found that the naturally occurring curcumin was poorly absorbed, which made it less effective than the synthetic curcuminoids. The results of the study indicate that curcuminoids enhance the 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. The researchers concluded that since vitamin D and curcumin appear to work differently in the immune system, it may be found that either a combination of the two or possibly each used separately may prove most effective, but that currently, they cannot recommend any specific dosage for either compound since further research is necessary.1

Date: 8/3/2009

Source: Journal of Alzheimer's Disease

Related Monographs: Alzheimer's Disease/Dementia , Vitamin D , Turmeric

1 Masoumi A , Goldenson B , Ghirmai S , et al. 1alpha,25-dihydroxyvitamin D<formula>_{3}</formula> Interacts with Curcuminoids to Stimulate Amyloid-beta Clearance by Macrophages of Alzheimer's Disease Patients. J Alzheimers Dis. 2009;17(3):703-717.

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