Durk Pearson & Sandy Shaw’s®
Life Extension NewsTM
Volume 15 No.
2 • March-April 2012
It would be thought a hard government, that should tax its people one-tenth part of their time, to be employed in its service.
— Benjamin Franklin, in “The Way to Wealth” (1758)
(D&S: One-tenth?? We should have it so good ...)
One to-day is worth two tomorrows.
— Benjamin Franklin (Poor Richard)
(D&S Comment: Well, one would certainly think that one today is worth more than one tomorrow unless you were Ben Bernanke who thinks that interest for loans over a few years should be virtually zero (that is, you do not place a value on having money now rather than later, where interest is the price you pay for having money today but paying it back tomorrow). The result, of course, is that the price you pay for having money now is artificially set by the FED as the same as having it later, destroying the signal that interest is supposed to provide to tell people how much markets value present versus future payoffs. The result? Lots of malinvestments. Thanks, Mr. Bernanke!)
Old men do not grow wise. They grow careful.
— Ernest Hemingway
Vitamin D3 Rejuvenation of Aging Eyes in Elderly Mice by Reducing Inflammation and Clearing Amyloid-Beta
The important antiinflammatory effects of vitamin D3 are becoming a hot research topic, with increasing numbers of papers being published on its use in the prevention and treatment of autoimmune and age-associated inflammatory diseases. One recent paper now reports that, in aged mice, vitamin D3 treatment for only 6 weeks significantly impacted the aging process, decreasing visual decline with the reduction of amyloid-beta in the Bruch’s membrane of the eyes. Note, importantly, that amyloid-beta is also accumulated in Alzheimer’s disease where it plays a key role in the degenerative effects of the disease. Hence, we speculate that the ability of vitamin D3 to reduce the accumulation of amyloid-beta in the eyes might also apply to a reduction of amyloid-beta in areas of the brain where it accumulates in Alzheimer’s disease.
In the study of vitamin D3 and the “rejuvenation” of aging eyes, treatment was administered by subcutaneous injection every 3 days with either 0.9 µg vitamin D3 in 0.1 ml. of safflower oil or the equivalent amount of safflower oil alone as a placebo. The authors explain that with aging, there is an increase in retinal inflammation and the gradual deposition of extracellular material along Bruch’s membrane, which reduces the permeability of the outer blood retinal barrier as well as increasing inflammation. They found that “[l]evels of Abeta [amyloid beta] along Bruch’s membrane were significantly reduced in Vitamin D3 treated retinae compared with controls in immunostained sections.” These data were confirmed with Western blots. “This showed not only a reduction in Abeta, but that proportionally a greater amount of the relatively more neurotoxic heavier oligomers in the region of 50–64 kDa [kilodaltons] appears to be removed as a consequence of vitamin D3 treatment.”
Increased Phagocytosis by Retinal Macrophages in Response to Vitamin D3
Moreover, the researchers found that retinal macrophages, which are responsible for phagocytosis (removal of cellular garbage) and become activated in association with chronic inflammation, were radically altered in Vitamin D3 treated mice to become a more ameboid type that is both more mobile and more phagocytic.
The results showed elevated retinal function in the treated mice.
In their summation, the authors said, “... hand in hand with this [evolution of man in Africa, where there was greater exposure to sunlight and, hence, likely higher vitamin D3 levels] is the issue of aging. Life expectancy in the early Neolithic was approximately 20–25 years, while now in the Western [more accurately, the economically advanced] world it is close to 80 years, driving it into periods where there is significant age-related extracellular deposition and inflammation. Hence, the Western human population is living 4 times longer, but on a daily basis now probably has significantly less vitamin D3 than it did for more than the previous 99.99% of its evolutionary history. This may be a cogent argument for vitamin D3 supplementation in our aging population.”
- Lee et al. Vitamin D rejuvenates aging eyes by reducing inflammation, clearing amyloid beta and improving visual function. Neurobiol Aging (Jan. 2 2012). Epub ahead of print.
- Guillot et al. Vitamin D and inflammation. Joint Bone Spine 77:552-557 (2010).