Omega 3, Vitamin D, and Resveratrol Supplements May Benefit Preclinical Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s Disease is a neurodegenerative disease where the patient experiences progressive loss of normal brain function and it is the cause of 60 to 70% of cases of dementia. After the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease, the average patient only lives 3 to 9 years, so treatments to slow down the progression or reverse the condition are sorely needed. Alzheimer’s Disease is marked by plaques that build up in the brain that contain abnormally folded Amyloid beta (A beta) protein. If the body is not able to clear these proteins out of the brain, they build up and lead to deterioration of brain function.

UCLA neurologists, including Dale Bredesen, found that supplementing preclinical patients with Alzheimer’s Disease with an Omega 3 drink that also contained vitamin D and resveratrol was beneficial. These patients, with mild cognitive impairment, experienced an increase in the breakdown (phagocytosis) of the neurotoxic molecule, amyloid Beta. Therapies that promote clearance of this molecule have been the focus of much research on Alzheimer’s.

In patients with mild clinical impairment and pre-mild clinical impairment who took the omega 3, vitamin D and reveratrol, phagocytosis of amyloid-beta by monocytes increased from 530 to 1306 mean fluorescence intensity units. Unfortunately, once the patients already had Alzheimer’s Disease, it did not help that much. The lipidic mediator resolvin D1, which stimulates amyloid-beta phagocytosis in vitro, increased in macrophages in 80% of patients with mild clinical impairment and pre-mild clinical impairment.

Omega 3 fatty acids both reduce inflammation and through the formation of Specialized Pro-Resolving Mediators (SPM), which have been shown to resolve inflammation, protect organs, and stimulate tissue regeneration.(2) According to these UCLA neurologists, “SPMs from omega-3s are known to terminate acute inflammation, increase phagocytosis, and have distinct roles in attenuating chronic inflammation and, thus, appear suitable for repairing defective Ab phagocytosis and regulating inflammation in patients with Alzheimer’s Disease. Interestingly, the Alzheimer’s Disease brain was found to have defective SPMs in the hippocampus.”

Readers should keep in mind that this was a small study and such results are interesting, but by no means are definitive without larger studies. It is also interesting to consider that SPMs are now available as separate supplements from Metagenics and sold at our office. I recommend supplementing with both omega 3 fats from fish oil capsules as well as SPMs to further protect brain tissue from possible deterioration with autoimmune diseases (like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s) or degenerative diseases (like senile dementia). Speak to Dr. Weitz about this. Also, we can help you get tested for the ApoE gene that tells you whether you are at higher risk for this condition.

1. Fiala M, Halder RC, Sagong B, Ross O, Sayre J, Porter V, Bredesen DE. “[Omega]-3 Supplementation increases amyloid-[beta] phagocytosis and resolvin D1 in patients with minor cognitive impairment.” FASEB J. 2015 Jul;29(7):2681-9.
2. Spite, M., Claria, J., and Serhan, C. N. (2014) Resolvins, ` specialized proresolving lipid mediators, and their potential roles in metabolic diseases. Cell Metab. 19, 21-36.

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