Monday, September 26, 2011

Vitamin D Alters Brain Proteins to Protect Against Alzheimer’s Disease

Advanced age and the build-up of amyloid beta protein clumps on brain structures are the clinical manifestation leading to the devastating form of dementia known as Alzheimer`s disease. Breaking research published in the journal Fluids and Barriers of the CNS provides crucial evidence that vitamin D influences transporter proteins that help clear the naturally occurring proteins from the brain.

Vitamin D has been found to profoundly alter the development and progression of many diseases including cancer, heart disease and diabetes. We can now add Alzheimer`s disease to the list. Obtaining vitamin D from natural sunlight or supplementing with the prohormone should be considered mandatory for all health-minded people wishing to lower chronic disease risk.

Vitamin D Prevents Amyloid Plaque Buildup in the Brain
Researchers constructing this study used mice genetically predisposed to develop dementia, and the animals were injected with vitamin D. It was determined that amyloid beta accumulation was selectively inhibited and special transporter proteins cleared the damaging amyloid before it could accumulate. The brain has developed an intricate array of special transporter proteins known as LRP-1 and P-gp that have been shown to usher amyloid protein across the blood-brain barrier before causing damage.

The lead research author, Professor Tetsuya Terasaki from Tohoku University in Japan commented “"Vitamin D appears to increase transport of amyloid beta across the blood brain barrier (BBB) by regulating protein expression, via the vitamin D receptor, and also by regulating cell signaling via the MEK pathway. These results lead the way towards new therapeutic targets in the search for prevention of Alzheimer`s disease."

Blood Testing is Essential to Normalize Vitamin D Levels
The research team believes that vitamin D helps to transport amyloid beta protein structures across the delicate blood-brain barrier so the clusters can be released into the cerebral spinal fluid for eventual disposal. The function of this mechanism is known to decline in aging humans and animals, allowing buildup of the sticky protein clusters around the neuronal synapses. Scientists have observed that vitamin D levels are typically low in aging adults when diagnosed with Alzheimer`s disease, and can now make the connection between blood saturation levels and the disease.

The study authors do not provide a vitamin D reference level that produced the results in this study. Many prior studies have demonstrated that the optimal blood level of the prohormone is between 50 ng/ml and 80 ng/ml to dramatically lower the risk from many cancer lines. Most health conscious adults will need to supplement with an oil-based vitamin D supplement to achieve this goal and attain protection from this deadly form of dementia.

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