Vitamin attacks Alzheimer’s disease

Researchers at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Center in New York City say they may have found a way to increase vitamin C concentration in the brain. If applicable to humans, the process could offer a new weapon against diseases resulting from brain cell damage, such as Alzheimer’s.

Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that works to prevent daily life damage that leads to diseases like cancer, Alzheimer’s, and heart disease. Unfortunately, even large oral doses of vitamin C waste away through the urine because the vitamin dissolves in water, according to the recent report in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

Researchers say they found that cells can break the vitamin down into dehydroascorbic acid and ascorbic acid, the form of vitamin C that cells use. After analyzing the concentration levels in the brains of dead mice, researchers report that of the two forms of acid injected, those with dehydro ascorbic acid injections had more ascorbic acid in their brain cells. Researchers say they may be able to increase vitamin C levels in the brain by increasing the blood level of dehydroascorbic acid.

(See: Agus DB, Gambhir SS, Pardridge WM, et al. Vitamin C crosses the blood-brain barrier in the oxidized form through the glucose transporters. J Clin Invest 1997; 100(11):2,842-2,848.)