Patients with Alzheimer's disease tend to suffer from brain amyloidosis, a condition related to defective clearance of amyloid-beta in their brains by their innate immune system.
In order to improve the innate immune system of Alzheimer's patients, researchers looked at the immune stimulation effects of vitamin D3 in combination with curcumin, an active compound found in the spice turmeric.
According to the study:
"[Vitamin D3] is a promising hormone for [Alzheimer's] immunoprophylaxis because in Type I macrophages combined treatment with ... D3 and curcuminoids has additive effects, and in Type II macrophages ... D3 treatment is effective alone."
Vitamin D is of incredible, often-overlooked importance to health. Lack of vitamin D may have even killed Mozart. During Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's short life, he suffered from many of his era's common illnesses -- such as smallpox, typhoid fever, tonsillitis and upper respiratory tract infections. But what finally killed him at the age of 35 is still a matter of debate.
Two researchers are offering a new theory as to the cause -- vitamin D deficiency. In high-latitude Austria, Mozart probably got little of the vitamin from sunlight during the winter months. This may have put him at risk for many illnesses.
According to Discovery News:
"... [M]ost of Mozart's infections occurred between mid-October and mid-May. That's the time of year when people in places as far north as Austria simply can't make enough vitamin D from sun exposure. Plenty of studies in recent years have linked adequate vitamin D levels with lower risks for influenza, pneumonia, cardiovascular disease, cancers, autoimmune diseases and more."
Aside from vitamin D, there is also evidence that exercise may help fight Alzheimer's. Exercise increases levels of the protein PGC-1alpha, a brain molecule that may protect against Alzheimer's disease. The protein also has metabolic effects that appear to guard against type 2 diabetes.
When researchers studied brain samples from dead Alzheimer's patients, they found they contained less PGC-1alpha than normal. Further investigation revealed that cells containing more PGC-1alpha produced less of the toxic amyloid protein characteristic of Alzheimer's.
According to the Salisbury Journal:
"Since exercise is known to raise levels of PGC-1alpha, the findings may help explain the link between regular physical activity and reduced Alzheimer's risk. They also provide a clue to why people with diabetes are more likely to develop Alzheimer's."