Vitamin D may help prevent Alzheimer's

March 5, 2013 at 1:41 AM
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LOS ANGELES, March 5 (UPI) -- Vitamin D and omega-3 may help the immune system's ability to clear the brain of amyloid plaques, which is linked to Alzheimer's disease, U.S. researchers say.

Study author Dr. Milan Fiala, at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles, and colleagues identified key genes and signaling networks regulated by vitamin D3 and the omega-3 fatty acid docosahexaenoic acid that may help control inflammation and improve plaque clearance.

Previous laboratory work by the team helped clarify key mechanisms involved in helping vitamin D3 clear amyloid-beta, the abnormal protein found in the plaque.

This new study extends the previous findings with vitamin D3 and highlighted the role of omega-3 DHA, Fiala said.

"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," Fiala said in a statement.

In Alzheimer's patients and healthy controls, they isolated the critical immune cells macrophages from the blood. Macrophages are responsible for gobbling up amyloid-beta and other waste products in the brain and body.

The study, published in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, found both D3 and omega-3 fatty acids improved the ability of the Alzheimer's disease patients' macrophages to gobble-up amyloid-beta, and they inhibited the cell death that is induced by amyloid-beta.

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