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Am J Alzheimers Dis Other Demen. 2011 Nov;26(7):511-20. doi: 10.1177/1533317511429321. Epub 2011 Dec 27.

The beneficial role of vitamin D in Alzheimer's disease.

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  • 1Vietnamese American Medical Research Foundation, Westminster, CA 92683, USA.


Alzheimer's disease (AD) is the most common form of dementia in the elderly individuals and is associated with progressive neurodegeneration of the human neocortex. Patients with AD have a high prevalence of vitamin D deficiency, which is also associated with low mood and impaired cognitive performance in older people. Genetic studies have provided the opportunity to determine which proteins link vitamin D to AD pathology (ie, the major histocompatibility complex class II molecules, vitamin D receptor, renin-angiotensin system, apolipoprotein E, liver X receptor, Sp1 promoter gene, and the poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase-1 gene). Vitamin D also exerts its effect on AD through nongenomic factors, that is, L-type voltage-sensitive calcium channels, nerve growth factor, the prostaglandins, cyclooxygenase 2, reactive oxygen species, and nitric oxide synthase. In conclusion, vitamin D clearly has a beneficial role in AD and improves cognitive function in some patients with AD. Calcitriol, 1 α,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3, is best used for AD because of its active form of vitamin D(3) metabolite and its receptor in the central nervous system.

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