Daily supplements of Vitamin E (alpha tocopherol) may slow functional decline in people with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease, say results of a double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel-group, randomized clinical trial.
Two thounsand international units per day of Vitamin E was associated with a delay in clinical progression of 19% per year, compared with placebo, according to findings published in JAMA.
In addition, the study -one of the largest and longest treatment trials in patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease- supports the safety of Vitamin E supplements.
Duffy MacKay, vice president, scientific and regulatory affairs for the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), welcomed the study’s findings, saying: «This study is significant as it presents strong data on the safety of Vitamin E, at high doses, and dismisses previous questions raised about the safety of this essential nutrient. This new study demostrates that scientists seeking to slam the door on vitamins, and new vitamin research, is the antithesis of what science is all about».
«In addition to confirming the safety of Vitamin E, this study, one of the largest and longest treatment trials in patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease, found 2000 IU/daily of Vitamin E compared with placebo resulted in slower functional decline in these patients. These results point to a powerful role of integrating proper nutrition into disease management, and provide hope for Alzheimer’s patients and their care givers.»
«However, the dietary supplement industry should be reminded that dietary supplements cannot be marketed or sold to consumers as a disease treatment, and we recommend that those suffering with Alzheimer’s disease rely on the advice of a trusted doctor as to the appropriate treatment plan. Self-dosing at the levels studied in this trial are not recommended.»
«Because Vitamin E is inexpensive, it is likely these benefits are cost-effective as alpha tocopherol improves functional outcomes and decreases caregiver burden.»
Data from the 561 participants who completed the study indicated that, over almost 2.5 years, the Vitamin E group displayed slower functional decline equivalent to a clinically meaningful delay in progression of 6.2 months, compared with placebo. No benefits were observed in the memantime only or the Vitamin E-memantine combination groups.
The study also supported the safety of Vitamin E at a dose of 2000 IU per day.