Vitamin D Benefits: Nutrient Clears Brain Plaques

If your mother gave you vitamin D-rich cod liver oil when you were a child, she may have been way ahead of her time.

A new animal study from Japan suggests that vitamin D may help clear the brain of amyloid beta, a toxic protein-like compound that accumulates in the brains of Alzheimer's patients.

Human Research Support
This animal study validates the results of a previous study done in human Alzheimer's patients. In the human study, vitamin D together with curcumin -- a chemical found in turmeric spice -- appeared to stimulate the immune system in a way that helped clear the brain of toxic amyloid beta. But this new animal research suggests that vitamin D alone may be able to do that job nicely. Even more amazing, the lab animals that received vitamin D were able to remove a significant amount of amyloid beta buildup in their brains, literally overnight. It seems the vitamin may somehow regulate production of transporter proteins that ferry amyloid beta across the blood-brain barrier and out of the brain. Pretty exciting stuff. (Related: Here's another great health reason to get plenty of vitamin D.)

Many grown-ups lack vitamin D -- especially in the winter months. Are you ready to make sure you get your fill? Try these strategies for Alzheimer's prevention:

Did you know? Vitamin D is vital for your frame, too.