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Nutrient - High plasma levels of Vitamin E may reduce risk of Alzheimer's

By Holly Taylor

A recent study, published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, has found that those with higher blood levels of vitamin E are at reduced risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, compared to subjects with lower levels.

Conducted at the Aging Research Centre (ARC) in Stockholm, Sweden, the study followed 232 participants, over the age of 80, for a period of six years. At the start of the study, all participants were dementia-free. After six years, 57 cases of Alzheimer’s were identified. Blood samples were taken at the beginning of the study to evaluate the participant’s blood levels of all eight forms of vitamin E. The participants with higher blood levels of vitamin E were then compared with those who had lower levels, to examine whether these two groups developed dementia at different rates.

The results showed that subjects with the highest plasma levels of total tocopherols, total tocotrienols, or total vitamin E had a reduced risk of developing Alzheimer’s, in comparison to those with the lowest vitamin E levels. These findings support the hypothesis that vitamin E’s protective activity seems to be related to the combination of different forms, rather than a-tocopherol alone. Commenting on the results, the researchers said that this justifies the “protective effect of dietary intake observed in epidemiological studies and the disappointing results observed in clinical trials… Our findings need to be confirmed by other studies, but they open up for the possibility that the balanced presence of different vitamin E forms can have an important neuroprotective effect.” 

Editors’ note: Many clinical studies are carried out with isolated vitamin E (a-tocopherol and its derivatives), rather than a mixture of all the vitamin E forms, which occur in nature. The results of such studies are often disappointing.

Article References

Mangialasche F (2010) High plasma levels of vitamin E forms and reduced Alzheimerís disease risk in advanced age. J Alzheimers Dis. 20(4):1029-37.

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