A recent study from Holland indicates that high intake of vitamins E may be associated with a reduced risk of dementia and Alzheimer disease (AD). This study which spanned many years looked at 5,395 patients over the age of 55. The researchers looked at the relationship between dietary antioxidant intake and long-term risk of dementia over a period of 10 years.
The study showed that individuals who took Vitamin E were at much lower risk for developing dementia. The study did adjust for variables like body mass index, age, smoking, geno type, smoking and use of other supplements. Unlike other previous studies, this study did not show any benefit from use of Vitamin C, beta-carotene, and flavonoids.
An important aspect of this study is that it looked at a large population for over a decade and evaluated food-based antioxidants found in a typical Western diet. Despite study restrictions of observational aim with many influencing variables, the study did report a modest decrease in long-term risk for dementia and Alzheimer's Disease by regular intake of vitamin E enriched foods.
So what does this all mean for the consumer?
Vitamin E a is fat soluble anti oxidant found in cereals, various seeds, green leafy vegetables, tomatoes, crabs, mangoes, asparagus, papayas, and nuts. In moderation, like all foods and supplements, Vitamin E is safe. However, consumers should understand that while this study shows positive benefits of Vitamin E, there are many more studies that show no benefit. The overall consensus in the medical community is that there is no solid evidence to support health benefits from Vitamin E supplementation, but on the other hand there is a lot of evidence that taking more than 400 IU of Vitamin E per day can increase the risk of death.
Therefore, if you want to prevent dementia or related disorders, the best advice is to eat adequate amounts of all foods and vitamins, exercise regularly, do not smoke and avoid reading too much into recent studies- all they do is create more confusion and apprehension.
Arch Neurol. 2010;67:819-825