WASHINGTONVitamin E alpha tocopherol supplementation may slow functional decline in patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease, according to new research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. For the double blind, placebo-controlled, randomized clinical trial, patients (n=613) received either 2000 IU/d of alpha tocopherol, 20 mg/d of memantine , a combination or placebo (JAMA. 2014;311(1):33-44.).
Researchers measured Alzheimers Disease Cooperative Study/Activities of Daily Living (ADCS-ADL) Inventory scores, which range from 0 to 78, in addition to determining cognitive, neuropsychiatric, functional, and caregiver outcomes. With an average follow-up of 2.27 years, alpha tocopherol patients' scores declined 3.15 units less than the placebo group. " This change in the alpha tocopherol group translates into a delay in clinical progression of 19 percent per year compared with placebo or a delay of approximately 6.2 months over the follow-up period," researchers noted.
Additionally, the study confirmed the vitamin's safety, which has been called into question recently. "This new study demonstrates that scientists seeking to slam the door on vitamins, and new vitamin research, is the antithesis of what science is all about," said MacKay, N.D., vice president, scientific and regulatory affairs, Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN). The study authors stated they found no significant increase in mortality with vitamin E.
"These results point to a powerful role of integrating proper nutrition into disease management, and provide hope for Alzheimers patients and their care givers," MacKay said. "However, the dietary supplement industry should be reminded that dietary supplements cannot be marketed or sold to consumers as a disease treatment, and we recommend that those suffering with Alzheimers disease rely on the advice of a trusted doctor as to the appropriate treatment plan. Self-dosing at the levels studied in this trial are not recommended."