Vitamin C treatment may help curb Alzheimer’s

Updated: Aug 21, 2011, 15:22 PM IST

Washington: Taking vitamin C might help patients with Alzheimer’s disease, a study has suggested.

According to Lund University researchers, treatment with vitamin C can dissolve the toxic protein aggregates that build up in the brain in Alzheimer`s disease.

The brains of people with Alzheimer`s disease contain lumps of so-called amyloid plaques, which consist of misfolded protein aggregates. They cause nerve cell death in the brain and the first nerves to be attacked are the ones in the brain``s memory centre.

“When we treated brain tissue from mice suffering from Alzheimer`s disease with vitamin C, we could see that the toxic protein aggregates were dissolved. Our results show a previously unknown model for how vitamin C affects the amyloid plaques”, said Katrin Mani, reader in Molecular Medicine at Lund University.

“Another interesting finding is that the useful vitamin C does not need to come from fresh fruit. In our experiments, we show that the vitamin C can also be absorbed in larger quantities in the form of dehydroascorbic acid from juice that has been kept overnight in a refrigerator, for example,” added Mani.

There is at present no treatment that cures Alzheimer`s disease, but the research is aimed at treatments and methods to delay and alleviate the progression of the disease by addressing the symptoms.

“The notion that vitamin C can have a positive effect on Alzheimer`s disease is controversial, but our results open up new opportunities for research into Alzheimer`s and the possibilities offered by vitamin C”, said Mani.

The findings have been published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry.