Reduced Risk of Alzheimer’s Disease Associated with High Levels of Vitamin E!!!

Senile dementia and Alzheimer’s disease are progressive, degenerative, neurological disorders that result in memory impairment and deterioration in cognitive function, reasoning, and behavior of the individual. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia – accounting for more than 60 percent of late life disorders of cognitive dysfunction. The loss of intellectual function initially interferes with daily life, and after a disease course that may last many years, eventually results in death. Death is usually due to factors such as compromised nutrition, complications of the immune system (pneumonia, sepsis, other infections), trauma, or aspiration.

Vitamin E is actually a group of eight compounds including four tocopherols (alpha, beta, gamma, and delta) and four additional tocotrienol derivatives. Alpha tocopherol is the most common and the most potent form. It is what is usually meant by the term vitamin E. Pure vitamin E compounds are easily oxidized, so they are manufactured as acetate or succinate esters. Evidence suggests that oxidative stress is important in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease. A compound known as beta-amyloid, which occurs abundantly in the brains of Alzheimer’s disease patients, is capable of inflicting free radical damage on brain cells. It has been shown that vitamin E can prevent the oxidative damage induced by beta-amyloidal and delay the onset of memory deficits in animal models.

In a recent study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease researchers investigated the association between the occurrence of Alzheimer’s disease and blood levels of eight forms of vitamin E. The study involved 232 subjects aged 80+ years and were followed for 6 years. The subjects vitamin E plasma levels (alpha-, beta-, gamma, and delta-tocopherol; alpha-, beta-, gamma-, and delta-tocotrienol) were measured at the beginning of the trial and at the end of the trial. Subjects with high plasma levels of total tocopherols, total tocotrienols, or total vitamin E had a reduced risk of developing AD in comparison to subjects with the lowest levels. A combination of the different forms of vitamin E seems to have more of a neuroprotective effect instead of alpha-tocopherol alone. The authors concluded that “High plasma levels of vitamin E are associated with a reduced risk of AD in advanced age.”1

1 Mangialasche F, Kivipelto M, Mecocci P, et al. High Plasma Levels of Vitamin E Forms and Reduced Alzheimer’s Disease Risk in Advanced Age. J Alzheimers Dis. Apr2010.