Vitamin D and Curcumin Help Clear Alzheimer’s Plaque

Sunday, April 22, 2012
By: Byron J. Richards,
Board Certified Clinical Nutritionist
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The excess accumulation of amyloid beta plaque is the hallmark of cognitive decline as well as Alzheimer’s disease.  A new study shows that immune cells responsible for taking out the trash are at least partly to blame.  Apparently they have a rather temperamental union and tend to go on strike when there is too much work to do.  It appears that vitamin D and curcumin can snap them back in to working condition.

Amyloid beta is made and dissolved as a normal process of brain chemistry.  Problems occur when it is made in excess (typically in response to inflammatory excess) and especially when your body cannot keep up with the dissolving process.  This study is about the dissolving process, which relies on immune cells (macrophages).  The researchers studied macrophages from Alzheimer’s patients and found that their amyloid beta trash dissolving ability was woefully lacking.

Researchers were able to document that vitamin D actually turned on the genes within the macrophages to rejuvenate their trash removal ability.  Furthermore, they identified two types of malfunction.  They found that vitamin D helped both types and that curcumin also helped one of the types, further boosting the effectiveness of vitamin D.

The number of middle-aged adults lacking vitamin D is staggering in the US.  This study demonstrates that they are at high risk of cognitive decline due to inefficient trash removal.  Ensuring vitamin D is adequate is a must for many reasons, which now includes helping avert cognitive decline.  Certainly any person with significant problems should have vitamin D levels optimized and it certainly would not hurt to add some curcumin to the brain rejuvenation program.

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