A study in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease has raised the interesting correlation between a single nutrient with multiple components and Alzheimer’s disease (AD) reduction. Whilst this is early days in terms of definitive strategic planning the indications are that mixed tocopherols are able, when present in adequate quantities in the plasma to confer a risk reduction in the region of 50%. This is a compelling ration of benefit to risk for anyone planning to try to mitigate their future brain disease and whilst correlation is not the same as causation the benefits of modest supplementation with suitable Vit E supplements makes for an attractive addition to the recommendations I have described earlier.
The researchers hypothesised:
That all the vitamin E family members could be important in protecting against AD. If confirmed, this result has implications for both individuals and society, as 70 percent of all dementia cases in the general population occur in people over 75 years of age, and the study suggests a protective effect of vitamin E against AD in individuals aged 80+.
This study looked at the levels in the plasma of 8 different forms of vitamin E and their relationship to Alzheimer’s in an elderly population.
A total of 232 dementia free 80+ year old people were followed for 6 years to detect incidence of AD. Plasma levels of In this study we investigated the association between plasma levels of eight forms of vitamin E (α-, β-, γ, and δ-tocopherol; α-, β-, γ-, and δ-tocotrienol) were measured at baseline.
They found that subjects with plasma levels of total tocopherols, total tocotrienols, or total vitamin E in the highest tertile had a reduced risk of developing AD in comparison to persons in the lowest tertile.
When considering each vitamin E form, the risk of developing AD was reduced only in association with high plasma levels of β-tocopherol (HR: 0.62, 95% CI 0.39-0.99), whereas α-tocopherol, α- tocotrienol, and β-tocotrienol showed only a marginally significant effect in the multiadjusted
In conclusion, high plasma levels of vitamin E are associated with a reduced risk of AD in advanced age. The neuroprotective effect of vitamin E seems to be related to the combination of different forms, rather than to α-tocopherol alone, whose efficacy in interventions against AD is currently debated.
The study found that subjects with higher blood levels of all the vitamin E family forms had a reduced risk of developing AD, compared to subjects with lower levels. After adjusting for various con-founders, the risk was reduced by 45-54 percent, depending on the vitamin E component, said the researchers.
The use of single nutrient analysis is consistent with the reductionist analysis favoured by drug investigators, but also provides valid insights into the potential role of specific nutrient complexes and risk of AD. The mix of vitamin E components suggests total dietary intake may be more effective than limited single nutrient interventions, but adding a natural Vit E supplement with a complex present may well suit older patients less willing to modify their dietary choices.
 Mangialasche F, Kivipelto M, Mecocci P, Rizzuto D, Palmer K, Winblad B, Fratiglioni L. High plasma levels of vitamin E forms and reduced Alzheimer’s disease risk in advanced age. J Alzheimers Dis. 2010;20(4):1029-37. View Abstract