Vitamin D takes out the rubbish in Alzheimer’s Disease

vitamin D taking out the amyloid rubbishScientists have known for years that patients with Alzheimer’s are often short of vitamin D.

The assumption has been, that the vitamin D levels merely reflect the house bound status of the demented patient, but recent research suggests being “house” bound, might be a big part of the problem.

Amyloid beta blocks nerve talk

Alzheimer’s happens when amyloid- B peptide starts accumulating in neurons.

Exactly what causes the amyloid beta protein, a protein which is normally produced in neurons to clump up in the first place, has been unclear.

But too much of the stuff, interferes with the transporting mechanisms within the neuron, ultimately resulting in a breakdown of communication. The tangle mass of protein causes information grid lock, which at the end of the day, produces dementia.

Amyloid-beta disposal depends on vitamin D

Japanese researchers have discovered that vitamin D helps get the amyloid beta out of your brain.

Vitamin D influences the expression of lots of different genes. One of the proteins that vitamin D helps produce and regulate, is a transporter protein, which does border duty at the interface between the brain and the rest of the body. The border is affectionately known as the blood brain barrier.

Most of the time, science worries about what passes through the border into the brain, but as with all borders, there is actually two way traffic. Things are passing out. Beta amyloid protein is capable of moving both in and out.

But, in the patient who develops Alzheimer’s, the waste removal system fails them.

The waste disposal system

The movement of amyloid beta across the blood brain barrier is assisted by several transporters.

One called RAGE controls the movement into the brain and LRP-1 and P-gp help get it out.

The functioning of LRP-1 and P-gP actually increases with age – this is a bit unusual since aging typically causes things to malfunction. It is speculated that the increase in the waste disposal proteins function reflects an increased need to get rid of waste materials. Aging brings wear and tear, as well as additional oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is an inherantly damaging process, so the older brain will be produce more damaged proteins.

The “healthy” older brain deals with the problem by improving waste removal. In Alzheimer brains the system is on a go slow and eventually fails all together.

Vitamin D boosts the waste disposal system performance

The Japanese researchers discovered that injecting old mice, with a mega dose of vitamin D, boosted the performance of the waste disposal system, allowing them to clear more amyloid protein.

The benefit was short-lived (it only lasted 24 hours).

Unfortunately continuous mega-doses of vitamin D, caused calcium imbalances, so firing up the transporter with the intent to clear all the amyloid B was not a viable option.

 So dosing up on vitamin D is not going to be a cure for Alzheimer’s.

Vitamin D may not cure Alzheimer’s but it could help prevent it

But curing Alzheimer’s is going to be tough – when the neurons are gone, they’re gone. The holy grail of Alzheimer medicine is to stop it before it gets going.

Vitamin D has been shown to fire up an important transporter on the BBB, which pumps the nasty amyloid B out of the brain. Keeping this pump fully functional, must decrease the chances of the build up in the first place.

Lots of people are running on very low levels of vitamin D. Some reports suggested 70 % of the population is below “normal”.

Fixing your vitamin D levels i.e. getting and keeping them within the normal physiological range, is likely to help keep the pump in good working order. Decreasing amyloid B build up so that the communication network remains intact.

Take out a vitamin D insurance policy against the dreaded disease

It is relatively easy to fix your vitamin D levels. Spend a little time in the sun or swallow a vitamin D pill.

Physiological vitamin D levels will help your bones, metabolism and immune system and might preserve your cognitive function.

NOTE : The vitamin D council recommends adults aim for 5000 IU / day to get and keep the levels within an optimum range.

1a,25-Dihydroxyvitamin D3 enhances cerebral clearance of human amyloid-b peptide(1-40) from mouse brain across the blood-brain barrier. Fluids and Barriers of the CNS (2011) 8:20 Shingo Ito, Sumio Ohtsuki, Yasuko Nezu, Yusuke Koitabashi, Sho Murata and Tetsuya Terasaki

Interested in taking out an insurance policy against chronic disease ?

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Further reading

Biochemical pathway of DHA synthesis

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Does Alzheimer’s begin with a shortage of omega-3 ? Could Alzheimer’s Disease start with a kiss ?  Vitamin D gets the blood vessels bending it like Beckam 

The 7 Big Spoons™…. are master switches that turn health on.

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Balance Eicosanoids Rein in insulin Dial down stress Sleep ! Increase Vit D Culivate microflora Think champion

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Did you learn something new or do you have a different perspective ? I’d love to hear from you so post me a comment below…..

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  1. By » Blog Archive » Round up 23 Aug – 26 Aug on September 2, 2011 at 5:01 pm

    [...] Vitamin D takes out the rubbish in Alzheimer’s Disease [...]

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