Vitamin E May Delay Alzheimers Decline

Alpha tocepherol, fat-soluble vitamin E and antioxidant, may slow functional declineproblems with daily activities such as shopping, preparing meals, planning and travelingin patients with mild-to-moderate Alzheimer's disease, according to a new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

NEW YORKAlpha tocepherol, fat-soluble vitamin E and antioxidant, may slow functional declineproblems with daily activities such as shopping, preparing meals, planning and travelingin patients with mild-to-moderate Alzheimer's disease, according to a new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Researchers at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and Veterans Administration Medical Centers examined the effects of vitamin E and memantine in a group of 613 patients with mild-to-moderate Alzheimers disease.

Patients were administered either vitamin E 2,000 IU/d, 20 mg/d of memantine, the combination or placebo and were then examined based on the Alzheimers Disease Cooperative Study/Activities of Daily Living (ADCS-ADL) Inventory Score. Alzheimers disease cognitive, neuropsychiatric, functional and caregiver measures were secondary outcomes.

This trial showed that vitamin E delays progression of functional decline by 19% per year, which translates into 6.2 months benefit over placebo," said Mary Sano, Ph.D., trial co-investigator and professor in the department of psychiatry, Icahn School of Medicine. There was no added benefit for memory and cognitive testing with the vitamin.

Vitamin E is inexpensive and easy to obtain. The clinical trial investigators believe it can be recommended as a treatment strategy, based on the study findings.

This study is the first to show an added benefit for vitamin E in mild-to-moderate disease," said Kenneth Davis, M.D., chief executive officer and president, Mount Sinai Health System. Now that we have a strong clinical trial showing that vitamin E slows functional decline and reduces the burdens on caregivers, vitamin E should be offered to patients with mild-to-moderate Alzheimers disease."

In 2011, Ohio State University researchers found that vitamin E, in the form of alpha-tocotrienol, can also trigger production of a protein in the brain that flushes toxins from nerve cells, preventing those cells from dying after a stroke. The findings, published in the journal Stroke, suggest natural vitamin E may be more potent than drugs targeting single mechanisms for preventing stroke-induced brain damage. In addition, vitamin E may help alleviate obesity-related liver disease and boost heart health in former smokers.

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