Alzheimer’s disease at a mild-to-moderate level might be treated by the use of vitamin E; this is the first time any treatment has been shown the road to the cure for dementia at that stage. A recent study carried out on more than 600 seniors showed that high doses of vitamin E delayed the decline in daily living tasks, such as holding a conservation, getting dressed and making meals, by about six months over a two-year period.Vitamin E did nothing to preserve thinking abilities, and it showed no benefit for patients who were taking Alzheimer’s disease medication, but those taking vitamin E alone needed less help from caregivers.
Dr. Maurice Dysken, the study leader of the Minneapolis VA Health Care System, explained that Vitamin E was not a miracle or an obvious cure, but it is the best they could do at that point to slow down the rate of Alzheimer’s disease progression. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs sponsored the study published by the Journal of the American Medical Association. Several doctors have urged that no one should rush out and buy vitamin E, as it has failed to prevent development of dementia in healthy people or with those with mild impairments, and ingesting too much might even be harmful. Dr. Sam Gandy said that study was a breakthrough for their nearly three decades of hard work and termed it the first disease modifying intervention to treat Alzheimer’s disease.
Around 35 million people worldwide suffer from Alzheimer’s disease and in the U.S. alone there are about 5 million Alzheimer’s patients. There is no cure and current medicine just temporarily ease symptoms.Researchers are not sure how vitamin E might help as a road to cure for the Alzheimer’s disease, but it is an antioxidant, like those present in grapes, some teas and red wine. The federal Office on Dietary Supplements explains that antioxidants help protect cells from damage that can contribute to other diseases. There are many dietary sources of vitamin E such as leafy green, vegetable oils, grains, seeds and nuts.Past studies have found that the advanced Alzheimer’s could be cured by vitamin E but in a 2005 analysis of many studies it was found that people who took more than 400 units of vitamin E daily were more likely to die of any cause.
In a latest study that involved 613 seniors, nearly all male, 79 years old on average, with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s, at 14 VA centers. All participants were on Aricept, Exelon or Razadyne, which are widely used dementia medicines that are similar in nature. Subjects were placed in four groups and given either vitamin E, another dementia medicine known as memantine, both pills and dummy pills. Of over more than two years of follow-up, participants on vitamin E alone had a 19 percent lower annual rate of decline in daily living activities compared to the placebo group. Vitamin E and memantine showed no difference on the thinking skills.
Dr. Ron Peterson, the research chief at the Mayo Clinic’s Alzheimer’s Disease Department said that it had a subtle effect, but it is probably real. Heather Snyder, Director of Medical and Scientific operations for the Alzheimer’s Association, said that Vitamin E is a possible road to the cure for Alzheimer’s disease, but it should only be taken under supervision for Alzheimer’s disease and other memory related diseases, as it may interfere with cholesterol drugs, blood thinners and other medications.
By Syeda Kiran Zahra Hussain