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What do Curcumin and Vitamin D Have in Common When it Comes to the Alzheimer’s Diet?

Posted by on Tuesday, March 19th, 2013

Recent medical research has indicated that Vitamin D combined with a common household spice -curcumin, (found in turmeric) may help prevent amyloid plaques in the brain which have been associated with Alzheimer’s disease.  But how does this compound work to help with Alzheimer’s disease, and how can you best integrate vitamin D and curcumin into the Alzheimer’s diet?

Vitamin D for Alzheimer's diet

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Function of Vitamin D

Vitamin D works in the body to absorb minerals such as calcium as well as phosphate, from the gut and maintain blood levels of calcium and phosphate. Milk is usually fortified with Vitamin D-to help the body absorb the available calcium. Short exposure to the sun weekly will usually provide adequate Vitamin D synthesis, but for those who live in a cloudy climate and for the elderly, supplemental Vitamin D is recommended, particularly for those who want to integrate the Alzheimer’s diet into their daily meal plans.

Vitamin D in Alzheimer's Diet

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Research on Vitamin D and Alzheimer’s

According to a recent study at UCLA and David Geffen School of Medicine; Vitamin D3 is the nutrient that may be responsible for stimulating specific genes that in turn improve the immune system which subsequently clears away amyloid beta protein- the substance responsible for plaque formation in the brain. 

Researchers stated; “This new study helped clarify the key mechanisms involved, which will help us better understand the usefulness of vitamin D3 and curcumin as possible therapies for Alzheimer’s disease,” according to a Huffington Post report.  Curcumin is a common ingredient used in Indian spiced food and it has been praised for its Alzheimer’s prevention properties by nutritional experts and medical researchers for some time.

In a 2009 study in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, vitamin D was found to work together with curcumin to stimulate the immune system which blocks the normal mechanisms of the production of amyloid beta protein in the brain.  The 2009 study found that Vitamin D3 combined with the Indian spice curcumin had a potentiated  the immune system in fighting against amyloid beta protein in the brain.  Note; Vitamin D3 synthesis is available ONLY from sunshine.

Researchers took blood samples from participants in the study, some with Alzheimer’s disease, and some without the disease. Specific immune cells were isolated from the blood which was responsible for negating the amyloid beta protein.

Yet another study from the Journal of Internal Medicine indicated that people with low vitamin D levels have a higher incidence of cognitive decline, according to Web MD.

Food sources of Vitamin D

Information on Vitamin D in Alzheimer's prevention


A primary source of natural vitamin D, of course, is sunshine, but it’s available as a supplement as well as in fatty skinned fish such as salmon, tuna, cod liver oil, swordfish, salmon (sockeye), canned tuna, fortified milk, orange juice, and yogurt, sardines, liver, butter, cream, cheese, and egg yolks.

Toxicity from Vitamin D

When it comes to vitamin D, the principal of “more is better” does not apply.  In fact, Vitamin D toxicity can occur when large doses of Vitamin D supplements are ingested-not as a result of sun exposure or foods with Vitamin D, or even fortified foods.  The danger of toxicity comes only from supplements taken in too high of a level.  Vitamin D toxicity can result in a condition called “hypercalcemia” which results in too much calcium in the blood. 

In Conclusion

To learn more about the proper recommendation of Vitamin D supplements and the use of curcumin for the Alzheimer’s diet, purchase the Alzheimer’s Diet book written by Harvard trained neurologist, Dr. Richard Isaacson, and Christopher N. Ochner, Ph.D.

For more easy to follow nutrition advice check out The Alzheimer’s Diet: A Step-by-Step Nutritional Approach to Memory Loss Prevention and Treatment, or visit to learn more about Neurologist, Dr. Richard Isaacson's 9 week diet plan and his cutting edge approach in the fight against AD in Alzheimer's Treatment | Alzheimer's Prevention: A Patient and Family Guide 2012 Edition. Also, sign up for the newsletter to get the latest updates in AD treatment and prevention news.

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