July 5, 2015

Alzheimer's & Vitamin E


See how vitamin E may slow down Alzheimer's. Read how it can decrease caregiver burden. Learn how vitamin E eases problems with daily activities in dementia. This includes shopping, preparing meals, planning and traveling.

Difficulty with activities of daily living often affect Alzheimer's patients. Disruption to daily routine is one of the hardest burdens for caregivers. New research suggests that Vitamin E may slow functional decline in patients with mild-to-moderate Alzheimer's disease. This includes problems with daily activities such as:
  • Shopping
  • Preparing meals
  • Planning
  • Traveling
It appears to also decrease caregiver burden. There was no added benefit for memory and cognitive testing with the vitamin.

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The research was performed by the faculty of Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai working with Veterans Administration Medical Centers. The study is published online in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The researchers investigated vitamin E as α-Tocopherol, an important fat-soluble antioxidant. Mary Sano, PhD, was the trial co-investigator, and professor in the department of psychiatry, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, and director of research at the James J. Peters Veteran's Administration Medical Center, Bronx, New York. She said,
"Since the cholinesterase inhibitors [Aricept/donepezil, galantamine, rivastigmine], we have had very little to offer patients with mild-to-moderate dementia."

"This trial showed that vitamin E delays progression of functional decline by 19% per year, which translates into 6.2 months benefit over placebo."
The finding is valuable because vitamin E is easy to purchase at local drugstores and it is also inexpensive. The clinical trial investigators believe it can be recommended as a treatment strategy, based on the double-blind randomized controlled trial.

The Veteran's Administration Cooperative Randomized Trial of Vitamin E and memantine in Alzheimer's Disease (TEAM-AD examined the effects of vitamin E 2,000 IU/d, 20 mg/d of memantine, the combination, or placebo on Alzheimer's Disease Cooperative Study/Activities of Daily Living (ADCS-ADL) Inventory Score. Cognitive, neuropsychiatric, functional, and caregiver measures were secondary outcomes. A group of 613 patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease were in the study, which was launched in August 2007 and finished in September 2012 at 14 Veterans Affairs Medical Centers.

Dr. Sano previously led a study on Vitamin E in patients with moderately severe Alzheimer's disease. She found that the vitamin slowed disease progression in this group of patients as well.

Mount Sinai Medical Center, via Newswise.

Journal Reference:
  1. Maurice W. Dysken, Mary Sano, Sanjay Asthana, Julia E. Vertrees, Muralidhar Pallaki, Maria Llorente, Susan Love, Gerard D. Schellenberg, J. Riley McCarten, Julie Malphurs, Susana Prieto, Peijun Chen, David J. Loreck, George Trapp, Rajbir S. Bakshi, Jacobo E. Mintzer, Judith L. Heidebrink, Ana Vidal-Cardona, Lillian M. Arroyo, Angel R. Cruz, Sally Zachariah, Neil W. Kowall, Mohit P. Chopra, Suzanne Craft, Stephen Thielke, Carolyn L. Turvey, Catherine Woodman, Kimberly A. Monnell, Kimberly Gordon, Julie Tomaska, Yoav Segal, Peter N. Peduzzi, Peter D. Guarino. Effect of Vitamin E and Memantine on Functional Decline in Alzheimer DiseaseJAMA, 2014; 311 (1): 33 DOI:10.1001/jama.2013.282834