Let’s Stop Alzheimer’s before it Starts. A sunny lifestyle can make all the Difference!

It has been shown that high dietary intake of vitamin D correlates to reduced risk of Alzheimer’s of 77% compared to those with the lowest intake. Vitamin D is a potent steroid hormone that controls hundreds of genes in the human body, and there are vitamin D receptor (VDR) sites in all tissues of the body. Brain tissue is particularly rich in VDR, so it is not surprising that Alzheimer’s disease is prevalent in people with low vitamin D levels. If the brain is dependent on vitamin D for proper function, a lack of that hormone would lead to brain dysfunctions such as Alzheimer’s. Many other brain diseases and disorders correlate to vitamin D deficiency—diseases such as autism, brain tumors and non-Alzheimer’s dementia. For example, a seven-year study showed that the risk of non-Alzheimer’s dementia was 19.7 times higher in people who had the lowest vitamin D levels compared to those who had higher levels.

The latest research on Alzheimer’s shows that the mechanism by which vitamin D reduces the disease could be the clearing of amyloid plaques, which are tangles of amyloid protein in the brains of Alzheimer’s victims. The plaques are pathological markers of Alzheimer’s disease found among the brain’s nerve cells. Recent research indicates that vitamin D and omega 3 fatty acids may help to remove these plaques and thereby reduce the risk or severity of the disease. This research, from UCLA, compared the immune system changes and inflammatory markers in the blood from two different groups, one group with Alzheimer’s, and a control group without the disease.  Both vitamin D and omega 3 improved the ability of the immune system to clear plaques in those with Alzheimer’s, indicating a potential reversal of the disease. Cell death as a result of Alzheimer’s was also diminished, as was inflammation.

One of the researchers stated the following: “We may find that we need to carefully balance the supplementation with vitamin D3 and omega-3 fatty acids, depending on each patient in order to help promote efficient clearing of amyloid-beta. This is a first step in understanding what form and in which patients these nutrition substances might work best.”

There are many additional research papers that corroborate the idea that vitamin D is important to prevent this serious and often deadly disease.

Sunlight exposure (don’t burn) around noon, with a lot of skin exposed, is a very effective and natural method to produce sufficient vitamin D. So protect your memory and your life with some regular sunlight exposure.

 Marc Sorenson, EdD

1. Annweiler C et al. Higher Vitamin D Dietary Intake Is Associated With Lower Risk of Alzheimer’s Disease: A 7-Year Follow-up. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2012 Apr 13. [Epub ahead of print]

2.Pike JW, et al. Regulation of target gene expression by the vitamin D receptor – an update on mechanisms. Rev Endocr Metab Disord 2012;13(1):45-55.

3. Cannell, J.  Autism and vitamin D.  Med hypothesis Oct 24, 2007.

4. Annweiler C, et al. Serum vitamin D deficiency as a predictor of incident non-Alzheimer dementias: a 7-year longitudinal study. Dement Geriatr Cogn Disord 2011;32(4):273-8

5. Champeau R. Vitamin D, omega-3 may help clear amyloid plaques found in Alzheimer’s. UCLA Newsroom Feb 2013. – See more at: http://sunlightinstitute.org/striking-back-alzheimer%E2%80%99s-disease-and-non-alzheimer%E2%80%99s-dementia-can-vitamin-d-and-sunlight-help#sthash.UtEgyH0W.dpuf

6. Soni M et al. Vitamin D and cognitive function. Scand J Clin Lab Invest Suppl. 2012;243:79-82.

7. Grant WB. Does vitamin D reduce the risk of dementia? J Alzheimer’s Dis 2009;17(1):151-9.

8. Pogge E, Vitamin D and Alzheimer’s disease: is there a link? Consult Pharm. 2010;25(7):440-50.