Thursday, 2 January 2014

Vitamin E & Alzheimer's Disease

Vitamin E is a group of eight fat-soluble compounds and is naturally found in many foods, including eggs, fortified cereals, fruit, green leafy vegetables, meat, nuts, poultry and vegetable oils. New research suggests that a daily dose of vitamin E may help to slow functional decline for patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease.

Alzheimer's disease is a neurological disorder in which the death of brain cells causes memory loss and cognitive decline. A neurodegenerative type of dementia, the disease starts mild and gets progressively worse.

According to the research team at Minneapolis VA Health Care System, vitamin E acts as an antioxidant in patients with severe Alzheimer's disease. The studies have shown that the vitamin was effective in slowing progression of moderately severe Alzheimer's disease. Results of the study revealed that patients who received the vitamin E had a 19% reduction in functional decline. This is the equivalent to a "clinically meaningful delay in progression" of 6.2 months.

However, Doug Brown, director of research and development of the Alzheimer's Society in the UK, says that patients should be aware that the dosage of vitamin E taken in this study is significantly higher than the adult upper recommended daily allowance of 1,500 IU/day and may be harmful for some."While this study into the link between vitamin E intake and reduction in functional decline is of interest, it is by no means conclusive. More research is needed to see if vitamin E really does have benefits for people with dementia, and whether it would be safe to be taking such a high dose on a daily basis," he adds.

But the researchers say their findings oppose previous studies suggesting that high doses of vitamin E may increase the risk of all-cause mortality."We found no significant increase in mortality with vitamin E. The annual mortality rate was 7.3% in the alpha tocopherol group vs. 9.4% for the placebo group," they add.

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