Vitamin E slows functional decline in AD patients: study

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Higher doses of Vitamin E were shown to improve function in Alzheimer's patients.
Higher doses of Vitamin E were shown to improve function in Alzheimer's patients.

Vitamin E could slow down the functional decline of patients with mild or moderate Alzheimer's disease, according to new research.

Vitamin E delayed the progression of functional decline by 19% per year in a trial that involved more than 600 Alzheimer's patients. The study ran from August 2007 to September 2012 at 14 Veterans Affairs Medical Centers. 

Participants were given 2,000 IU of Vitamin E,
20 mg/d of dementia drug memantine, a combination of the two, or a placebo. The Vitamin E group, on average, required about two fewer hours a day of help from caregivers.

An earlier study by one of the lead researchers, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai professor Mary Sano, Ph.D., also showed that Vitamin E slowed Alzheimer's disease progression in a group of patients with moderately severe Alzheimer's.

Results were published in the Jan. 1 Journal of the American Medical Association.

It's unclear why Vitamin E, a fat-soluble antioxidant, had positive effects. While Vitamin E is easy to purchase, other researchers cautioned that seniors should not take it without consulting a healthcare provider. A 2005 analysis in the Annals of Internal Medicine considered the effect of high doses of Vitamin E on mortality and suggested that high doses of the vitamin could be unsafe.