HIGH DOSES OF VITAMIN E DELAY THE ONSET OF ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE?
University of Minnesota Medical School
Alzheimer’s disease was first discovered in 1907. The disease is caused by a build-up of beta-amyloid and intercellular hyperphosphorylated tau strands in the brain. This then leads to progressive cognitive impairment and ultimately, death. Currently there are no effective ways to prevent or effectively treat this type of dementia. (Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is common in people aged over 60 years, but only 12-15% of the sufferers of this condition will progress to full blown Alzheimer’s disease.)
There is now some evidence that nutrients could play a role in delaying the onset of cognitive decline. Higher intakes of vitamins and minerals, consumed as foods or supplements, are associated with lower risk of developing cognitive deficits, while blood serum levels for folic acid, vitamin A, B6, vitamin B12, C, E, D, K, thiamine, β-carotene & DHA tend to be lower in Alzheimer’s patients. Anti-oxidant activity of these nutrients is likely to play a role and it has been shown that vitamin E levels are 75% below the recommended levels in the USA and UK. There have been several studies looking at Vitamin E over the years, and it looks like it might be able to delay the onset of Alzheimer’s by 7 months.
What’s interesting is that the benefit was only seen in patients taking Vitamin E in the absence of existing prescription drug therapies.
It should be noted that high doses of vitamin E may be associated with an increased risk of heart disease and prostate cancer.
More studies are obviously needed.