12 January - 20 June 2016

Vitamin D3 and omega 3 may help clear amyloid plaques associated with Alzheimer’s disease

20 Feb 13

A study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease by scientists from University of California, Los Angeles, has investigated the mechanism by which vitamin D3 and omega 3 fatty acids may help the immune system clear the brain of amyloid plaques associated with Alzheimer’s disease.  The pilot study builds on previous results by Fiala et al which identified certain mechanisms involved in helping vitamin D3 clear amyloid beta.  This new study clarifies previous findings with vitamin D3 and also investigates the role of omega 3 DHA.  For this current study the scientists compared blood samples from both Alzheimer’s patients and healthy controls.  Fiala et al. isolated immune cells called macrophages from serum samples and incubated the immune cells with amyloid beta.  The team report that macrophages engulf and then digest amyloid beta and other waste products in the brain and body.   Fiala et al. then added either the active form of vitamin D3 called 1alpha,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 (1,25D3) or an active form of omega 3 DHA called resolvin D1 (RvD1) to some of the cells and investigated the effect these have on inflammation and amyloid beta absorption.  Fiala et al. report that the active form of vitamin D3 and omega 3 DHA improved the ability of the macrophages in AD patients to break down amyloid beta and also inhibited the cell death that is induced by amyloid beta.  However, the scientists report that although both vitamin D3 and omega 3 DHA were found to improve amyloid beta in both groups, subtle differences were seen in the effect of the two substances on the expression of inflammatory genes in the two groups.  In group 1, the increased-inflammation group, macrophages showed a decrease in inflammatory activation. In group 2, the group with decreased inflammation, macrophages showed an increase in the inflammatory genes IL1 and TLRs with the addition in either substance.  The study notes that “we need to carefully balance the supplementation of vitamin D3 and omega-3 fatty acids depending on each patient in order to help promote efficient clearing of amyloid beta.”   The scientists note that an active form of omega 3 DHA used in this study and not oxidised, may work better than more commercially available forms of DHA, which do not protect against oxidation.  The study concludes by suggesting that low vitamin D3 and DHA intake and/or poor anabolic production of 1,25D3/RvD1 in peripheral blood mononuclear cells could contribute to AD onset/pathology.

Also a US study published recently in Aging Cell by Longo et al. has indicated that modified protein foods may slow Alzheimer’s progression and could help improve memory.  Mice at advanced stages of the disease were put on a protein-restricted diet supplemented with specific amino acids every other week for four months.  The mice on the protein-restricted diet were found to have improved cognitive abilities over their non-dieting peers when their memory was tested using mazes. Longo et al also report that also fewer of their neurons contained abnormal levels of a damaged protein, called "tau," which accumulates in the brains of Alzheimer's patients.  The scientists report that a protein-restricted diet reduced levels of IGF-1 circulating through the body by 30 to 70 percent, and caused an eight-fold increase in a protein that blocks IGF-1's effects by binding to it.  The scientist state that IGF-1 helps the body grow during youth but is also associated with several diseases later in life in both mice and humans.

RSSL's Lipids Laboratory, part of the Investigative Analysis Team has expertise in all aspects of fat analysis and fatty acid profiling, including the determination of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. For more information please contact Customer Services on Freephone 0800 243482 or email enquiries@rssl.com

RSSL's Functional Ingredients Laboratory provides vitamin analysis in a wide range of matrices including drinks, fortified foods, pre-mixes and multi-vitamin tablets, including the analysis for Vitamin D2 and Vitamin D3.  It provides a full vitamin and mineral analysis service to assist with labelling, due diligence, claim substantiation and stability. For more information please contact Customer Services on Freephone 0800 243482 or email enquiries@rssl.com

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