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Vitamin E may be beneficial for those with dementia

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The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) has recently published a study which suggests that those with mild to moderate symptoms of Alzheimer’s could benefit from high daily doses of vitamin E, which could slow their rate of decline.

Two year study

The study looked at 613 people over a two year period – each patient received either a combination of the dementia drug memantine and vitamin E, vitamin E alone or a placebo. Over the two year period, the results showed the rate of decline in those receiving vitamin E reduced by 19% annually, with patients more able to carry out everyday tasks such as washing and dressing for themselves, requiring less help from home carers.

Dr Maurice Dysken from Minneapolis VA Health Care System commented, “These findings suggest that vitamin E is beneficial in mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease by slowing functional decline and decreasing caregiver burden.”

Further research

More research will be needed to establish whether taking such a high dose of vitamin E is safe, as the level taken by participants was significantly higher than the current recommended daily allowance. Dr Eric Karran from Alzheimer’s Research UK said it was still too early to suggest vitamin E as a beneficial treatment, commenting, “Until the findings from this trial have been replicated, we would not encourage people to take high doses of vitamin E supplements to try to prevent or treat Alzheimer’s.”

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