In a small pilot study reported in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, a team of US researchers has discovered how vitamin D3, a form of vitamin D, and omega 3 fatty acids may help the immune system clear the brain of amyloid plaques, one of the physical hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease.
In their earlier work, the researchers showed how certain mechanisms regulated by vitamin D3 help clear amyloid-beta, the abnormal protein found in sticky plaques that clog up the important communication space between brain cells in people with Alzheimer’s. In the new study, they extend what they discovered about vitamin D3, and highlight the role of a fatty acid called omega-3 DHA. They identify key genes and signaling pathways controlled by vitamin D3 and omega-3 DHA, that may help the immune system regulate inflammation and get rid of plaque.
They found that both the active forms of vitamin D3 and omega 3 DHA improved the ability of the macrophages from the Alzheimer’s patients’ blood samples to absorb amyloid beta. They also noticed there was less of the cell-death that is normally triggered by amyloid beta.