Consuming foods that are rich in vitamin D3 and omege-3, such as oily fish, eggs, nuts and wholegrains, could delay or prevent Alzheimer's disease, finds a new research.
Writing in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, researchers stated that the foods contain vitamin D3 and omega-3, which can boost the immune system's ability to clear the toxic and deadly plaques, which destroy the brain of Alzheimer's sufferers.
They have identified genes and signalling networks regulated by the two nutrients that may control inflammation and improve plaque dispersal, the Daily Express reported.
Previous studies at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California pinpointed mechanisms involved in helping vitamin D3 clear amyloid-beta, the abnormal protein in the plaque.
The new study confirmed the vitamin D3 findings and highlights the role of omega-3 fatty acid DHA (docosahexaenoic acid).
Amyloid-beta is thought to build up for at least a decade before outward signs of dementia. The sticky protein forms harmful "plaques" which kill off nerves and cause the symptoms.
Finding ways of preventing the plaques is seen as the key to wiping out Alzheimer's. The study involved adding the two nutrients to blood samples of Alzheimer's patients. Both were found to improve the ability of immune cells called macrophages to absorb amyloid-beta.
They also blocked the cell death caused by amyloid beta. The researchers found that each nutrition molecule used different receptors and common signalling pathways.
"We may need to balance supplementation with vitamin D3 and omega-3 fatty acids, depending on each patient. This is a first step in understanding what form and in which patients these substances might work best," said study author Dr Milan Fiala.
Most diets are lacking in omega-3 so eating oily fish - particularly salmon and sardines - can help.
It is also found in chicken, nuts, Brussels sprouts, kale and spinach as well as vegetable oils.
Vitamin D3 is created by exposure of the skin to sun but can also be found in cod liver oil, fortified foods such as milk and cereal and egg yolks.