Can Omegas and Vitamin D Help Prevent Alzheimer’s?
The cause of Alzheimer's disease is as yet unknown, making treatment difficult. However, a new pilot study by researchers from the University of California discovered that vitamin D3 and omega-3 fatty acids may be the key to curing or preventing dementia. They found that these two nutritional substances may help the immune system to clear amyloid plaque from the brain, which is one of the main physical signs of Alzheimer's.
Omega-3 Fish Oil and Alzheimer's
Omega-3 is found in many fish and plant oils. It is vital for the body to maintain a healthy metabolism and is thought to be important in reducing inflammation in the body. Previously research has focused on following a Mediterranean diet high in fish oils which was found to have some success in the prevention of dementia.
Pittsburgh Medical Center research then established a direct relationship between fish consumption and Alzheimer's risk. Eating fish regularly is thought to reduce the risk of dementia and this may be due to the presence of vitamin D and omega-3 in oily fish.
The Benefits of Vitamin D and Omega-3 on Brain Function
In studies in France the dietary habits and vitamin D intake of 498 women with an average age of 79.8 years were carefully analyzed. It was found that women who had an intake of less than 50mcg vitamin D in a week were at greater risk of developing Alzheimer's' than those who had 59 mcg or above. The study showed a distant correlation between those who took more vitamin D and those who had a lower risk of developing the disease.
It was thought that this was due to vitamin D's protective effect on the hippocampus of the brain, which is responsible for memory. Also, vitamin D is known to influence the production and elimination of beta-amyloid proteins which are thought to play a key role in the development of Alzheimer's.
In the more recent University of California study, Vitamin D3 was found to help clear the amyloid-beta protein. This sticky plaque seems to clog the communication between brain cells in those suffering from dementia. The study worked on this discovery and highlighted the similar role of omega-3 DHA. They found that signaling pathways in the brain are controlled by vitamin D3 and omega-3 DHA which work together to lower inflammation and reduce plaque in the brain.
The study found that these two substances together improved the ability of immune cells (macrophages) to absorb and remove amyloid-beta. This resulted in less cell death caused by the amyloid-beta proteins and better brain health.
The hope from this study is that by finding the balance with vitamin D3 and omega-3, it may be possible to promote the complete removal of amyloid-beta in the brain thereby preventing and treating the cause of Alzheimer's effectively and easily.