Swedish researchers have discovered treatment with vitamin C can dissolve the toxic protein aggregates that build up in the brain in Alzheimer’s disease.
The research findings are now being presented in the Journal of Biological Chemistry.
Researchers at Lund University treated brain tissue from mice suffering from Alzheimer’s with vitamin C. The vitamin C or L-ascorbic acid dissolved the toxic protein aggregates that define 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 center.
“Our results show a previously unknown model for how vitamin C affects the amyloid plaques,” says lead researcher Katrin Mani.
“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.”
The protective antioxidant effects of vitamin C for a variety of illness ranging from the common cold to heart attacks and dementia has been debated by researchers for decades.
“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,” says Katrin 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.
Source: Lund University