Vitamin D + Omega 3 = Effective Method To Remove Alzheiemer’s Amyloid Plaque
Written by: Lindsay Sibson
I had showed him where the car door handle and seat belt were yesterday when I picked him up for our usual lunchtime date.
However, here we were just 24 hours later and he was sitting in the passenger seat of my car not sure of what or where both items were.
A mere 5 years prior, the man that was sitting in my car was one of the most powerful defense attorneys in Southern California… and then an Alzheimer’s diagnosis changed EVERYTHING.
Now he requires around the clock supervision to ensure his safety and well being.
This disease is marked by confusion, memory loss and problems with expressing oneself. It is highly disruptive to a person’s daily life and also poses a separate set of challenges for the loved ones or people taking care of the person.
Considering over 5 million Americans of all ages have Alzheimer’s as of 2015, this disease affects a wide variety of people and families.
One recent study is shedding some light on the potential benefits of taking vitamin D and omega 3 supplementation as a way to help boost the brains of Alzheimer’s patients.
One of the physical hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease is the presence of amyloid plaques in the brain. Amyloid is a protein that is normally found throughout the body. However, when they divide improperty, they create a sticky substance that is toxic to neurons and create a buildup in the brain.
A team of U.S. researchers led a small pilot study where they discovered how vitamin D3 and omega 3 fatty acids can potentially help the immune system clear the brain of these amyloid plaques.
Researcher and co-author of the study, Milan Fiala, stated:
“Our new study sheds further light on a possible role of nutritional substances such as vitamin D3 and omega 3 in boosting immunity to help fight Alzheimer’s.”
The Importance Of Vitamin D3 And Omega 3
- Essential for bone health
- Vital for immune system health
- SUNSHINE is the main source of this vitamin
- Deficiencies occur when:
- People stay indoors most of the time
- During winter months
- Commonly found in marine and plant oils
- Considered an essential fatty acid
- Cannot be synthesized in the body
- Vital for a healthy metabolism
- Plays a key role in reducing inflammation in your body
Regulating Amyloid Plaques
To help clear amyloid-beta, the researchers showed in their earlier work how certain mechanisms are regulated by vitamin D:
- Amyloid-beta is the abnormal protein found in sticky plaques
- In people with Alzheimer’s, amyloid-beta blocks the important communication space between brain cells
The new study took it a step further and the researchers discovered more about the power of vitamin D3 as well as the importance of fatty acid omega 3. They did so by identifying key genes and signaling pathways controlled by both substances in order to determine what helps the immune system get rid of plaque and regulate inflammation.
Here is how the study was conducted:
1. Immune cells were isolated from blood samples taken from both Alzheimer’s patients AND from healthy volunteers.
2. Both samples were compared by looking at macrophages, which are immune cells that go around sweeping up waste products.
- These waste products, such as amyloid beta, can block the space between cells and interfere with cell-to-cell signaling.
3. The macrophages were incubated for a few hours with amyloid beta.
- An active form of vitamin D3 was given to some cells.
- Other cells received an active form of omega 3 DHA.
4. All macrophages were watched to observe the effect that vitamin D3 and omega 3 had on inflammation.
- Specifically the ability of the macrophages to absorb amyloid beta.
Researchers found that BOTH the active forms of vitamin D3 and omega 3 DHA improved the macrophages’ ability to absorb amyloid beta in Alzheimer’s patients.
It was also noted that:
- There was LESS cell-death than is typically provoked by amyloid beta.
- Vitamin D3 and omega 3 DHA used different receptors and the same signaling pathways.
One of the key contributions of this new study is that it displays the main differences between the macrophages of people with Alzheimer’s versus people that are deemed healthy. Furthermore, the study also was able to indicate that there were differences in macrophages WITHIN the Alzheimer’s patients:
- The key differences were in gene expression and transcription patterns
- The macrophages expressed inflammatory genes differently than the healthy people
- There were 2 distinct groups:
- The macrophages increased transcription of inflammatory genes
- The other group’s macrophages transcription was decreased
NOTE: transcription is the first step of reading the instructions in DNA to make proteins
According to the researchers, more work is needed in order to discover if these 2 different transcript patterns of inflammatory genes are signs of either:
- 2 stages of Alzheimer’s disease
Co-author of the study, Milan Fiala, says their findings are the start of highlighting the differences associated with a person’s insufficient intake of these essential nutrients OR the body’s ability to properly use them. Fiala stated:
“We may find that we need to carefully balance the supplementation with vitamin D3 and omega-3 fatty acids, depending on each patient in order to help promote efficient clearing of amyloid-beta. This is the first step in understanding what form and in which patients these nutritional substances might work best.”
Note: Funds from the Alzheimer’s Association supported the initial phase of this study. Milan Fiala, co-author of the study, is a consultant with a Norwegian biotech company that is producing a drink with an active form of omega-3 DHA (Smartfish).
Lindsay Sibson turned her lifelong dream of traveling the world into a reality when she first stepped on a plan in April of 2014. With the simple intention of learning more about this beautiful world, she stepped away from corporate America to explore an alternative lifestyle of long term international travel, volunteering, blogging and pursuing a blissfully happy and fulfilling way of life.
Lindsay documents her journey in hopes of empowering others to find their passion, reignite their spark and freshen their outlook on life. Connect with her on her website and follow her travels on Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/_traveloholic_).
Through her blog, Lindsay documents her journey in hopes of empowering others to find their passion, reignite their spark and freshen their outlook on life.
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