Vitamin E Improves Alzheimer’s Disease

New research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) reports that a daily dose of vitamin E may help reduce functional decline for patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease. Also reported was that care for these patients was reduced.  

The study included over 600 patients with “mild to moderate” Alzheimer’s disease, split into four groups. One group received 2000 IU of vitamin E (D-alpha-tocopherol), the next received the drug Memantine, a third group received both Memantine and vitamin E and the last group, a placebo.

Patients were followed a little over two years with the following results.  Those receiving the vitamin E supplement had a 19% reduction in functional decline compared with patients who received the placebo. This is a huge improvement!  According to researchers, this is equivalent to a “clinically meaningful delay in progression” of 6.2 months.Patients who took the drug AND vitamin E experienced no benefits. Not only was the drug ineffective, but it diminished the value of the vitamin too!

During the five-year trial, the drug Memantine produced no benefits. That meant five years of the drug’s side effects that included infections for these patients.

This news is not surprising.  In 2013 a review funded by the Drug Efficacy and Safety Network of the Canadian Institute of Health Research reported that eight randomized clinical trials and three companion reports were used to evaluate the safety and efficacy of various drugs referred to as “cognitive enhancers” such as (donepezil [Aricept], rivastigmine [Exelon], galantamine [Razadyne], or memantine [Nemenda]) on mild cognitive impairment.  The results showed the drugs did NOT improve cognition or function among patients with mild cognitive impairment. Moreover, they were associated with a greater risk of side effects especially nausea, diarrhea and vomiting, versus placebo.

The researchers concluded, “Our findings do not support the use of cognitive enhancers for mild cognitive impairment.”

Again, a trial has concluded that Alzheimer’s drugs do not work, and in fact impairs the body’s ability to utilize vitamin E, a fat soluble vitamin necessary for a number of cognitive functions.  The D-alpha-tocopherol form, preferred by the body, better absorbed and utilized, is far superior to dl-alpha-tocopherol, the synthetic form used in other trials that did not show the same results.

Nutritional deficiency, rampant in elderly populations, is likely the cause of impaired mental function.  Be sure your family members are taking their B vitamins such as B6, folic acid and B12 along with omega-3 fatty acids.  These nutrients are crucial for brain health.

If you know anyone with a family member who suffers with Alzheimer’s disease or other cognitive impairment, please share this information with them.  It may help them improve.

All folks, especially the elderly, should consider a thorough evaluation by a nutritionist and/or other cognitive experts before embarking on drug therapy.  It’s better to be safe than drugged.

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