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Alzheimer’s & Vitamin E


Vitamin E may slow down Alzheimer’s and ease caregiving, according to a JAMA report. See how
vitamin E improved daily activities in dementia, including shopping, preparing meals, planning and traveling.

Difficulty with activities of daily living often affect Alzheimer’s patients. Disruption to daily routine is one of the hardest burdens for caregivers. New research suggests that Vitamin E may slow functional decline in patients with mild-to-moderate Alzheimer’s disease. This includes problems with daily activities such as:

  • Shopping
  • Preparing meals
  • Planning
  • Traveling

It appears to also decrease caregiver burden. There was no added benefit for memory and cognitive testing with the vitamin.

Continued below video…

The research was performed by the faculty of Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai working with Veterans Administration Medical Centers. The study is published online in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The researchers investigated vitamin E as α-Tocopherol, an important fat-soluble antioxidant. Mary Sano, PhD, was the trial co-investigator, and professor in the department of psychiatry, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, and director of research at the James J. Peters Veteran’s Administration Medical Center, Bronx, New York. She said,

“Since the cholinesterase inhibitors [Aricept/donepezil, galantamine, rivastigmine], we have had very little to offer patients with mild-to-moderate dementia.”

“This trial showed that vitamin E delays progression of functional decline by 19% per year, which translates into 6.2 months benefit over placebo.”

The finding is valuable because vitamin E is easy to purchase at local drugstores and it is also inexpensive. The clinical trial investigators believe it can be recommended as a treatment strategy, based on the double-blind randomized controlled trial.

The Veteran’s Administration Cooperative Randomized Trial of Vitamin E and memantine in Alzheimer’s Disease (TEAM-AD examined the effects of vitamin E 2,000 IU/d, 20 mg/d of memantine, the combination, or placebo on Alzheimer’s Disease Cooperative Study/Activities of Daily Living (ADCS-ADL) Inventory Score. Cognitive, neuropsychiatric, functional, and caregiver measures were secondary outcomes. A group of 613 patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease were in the study, which was launched in August 2007 and finished in September 2012 at 14 Veterans Affairs Medical Centers.

Dr. Sano previously led a study on Vitamin E in patients with moderately severe Alzheimer’s disease. She found that the vitamin slowed disease progression in this group of patients as well.


Mount Sinai Medical Center, via Newswise.

Journal Reference:

  1. Maurice W. Dysken, Mary Sano, Sanjay Asthana, Julia E. Vertrees, Muralidhar Pallaki, Maria Llorente, Susan Love, Gerard D. Schellenberg, J. Riley McCarten, Julie Malphurs, Susana Prieto, Peijun Chen, David J. Loreck, George Trapp, Rajbir S. Bakshi, Jacobo E. Mintzer, Judith L. Heidebrink, Ana Vidal-Cardona, Lillian M. Arroyo, Angel R. Cruz, Sally Zachariah, Neil W. Kowall, Mohit P. Chopra, Suzanne Craft, Stephen Thielke, Carolyn L. Turvey, Catherine Woodman, Kimberly A. Monnell, Kimberly Gordon, Julie Tomaska, Yoav Segal, Peter N. Peduzzi, Peter D. Guarino. Effect of Vitamin E and Memantine on Functional Decline in Alzheimer DiseaseJAMA, 2014; 311 (1): 33 DOI:10.1001/jama.2013.282834
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January 5, 2014 6:20 pm

How much Vit E. .???

Reply to  Reddog
July 8, 2015 4:57 am

2000 I U per 20mg Memantine

January 6, 2014 3:10 pm

Reddog, the researchers noted that the results do not make total sense. And there have been many studies on Vitamin E for treating everything from mild cognitive impairment (MCI) to late-stage Alzheimer's — some found no benefit at all, some produced confusing and/or contradictory results the way this study did, and some concluded it can actually be harmful. So until they figure out why the results aren't clear-cut, I'd be cautious about dosing a loved one.

Reply to  Lizzie
January 28, 2015 1:48 am

Ann, why should I use caution? I did not read about harmful effects. I've taken Vit-E for years myself with hopefully no ill side-effects. My 83yo dad, who has early stages of Dementia & Alzheimer's, lives w/me. Today we visited his dermatologist as it was his 3rd visit for pre-cancer spots. When we walked inside, he walked to the counter and kindly asked for an order of chicken and dumplings. I became misty eyed but did not let him know. I never want to do anything that would harm his precious brain as these diseases will do too much damage.

Reply to  Lizzie
May 28, 2017 1:30 pm

Vitamin E for men can be quite dangerous. A study showed significant increased risk for prostate cancer in healthy men. (JAMA. 306:1549-1556, 2011)

January 6, 2014 3:17 pm

For more information and a better explanation of the concerns, see TheChart on the CNN Health website, Dec 31:


Some results don't completely add up, Small said.

For him, the finding that vitamin E by itself showed benefits, but in combination with memantine it did not, is puzzling. There is also the question of why none of the treatment groups did better than the placebo group in cognitive abilities.

“It is unclear why there were functional but not cognitive benefits of this intervention. The lack of cognitive benefit re-emphasizes the need for replication and confirmation of these results before considering this as a treatment strategy,” Carrillo said.

Vitamin E had been shown in previous research to possibly benefit Alzheimer's patients, but other studies have raised safety concerns. Among them was a 2011 JAMA study that found dietary supplementation with vitamin E in healthy men increases the risk of prostate cancer.

In this new study, vitamin E did not appear to increase the likelihood of mortality. None of the treatments seemed to be unsafe, according to this research, but "the size of the study did not allow us to detect infrequent but potentially significant adverse events," the researchers wrote.

It's important for the study to be replicated, so that the results can be confirmed, but this is a good step toward positively intervening in the disease, Small said.

August 27, 2014 6:48 pm

@Ann- Double Thumbs Up !!!!!!!

February 7, 2015 9:22 pm

You should check with your doctor if you add Vitamin E while taking prescription blood thinners.

June 18, 2015 5:02 pm

Many contain soy, which shouldn't be consumed.

July 8, 2015 5:45 am

Patients using antiplatelet drugs ss Aspirin (A. S. A.) and/or anticoagulants as warfarin (coumarin), have to be aware that Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol), by it self can increases in 22% the risk of severe hemorrhagic strokes. Then when associsted with aspirin or warfarin, the risks of hemorrhagic strokes can actually increases. As most elderly patie ts with or without dementia takes such antiplatelets or anticoagulants drugs, only the physicians of the patients can decides if the patient can takes such megadoses of vitamin E.

Articles :
1) Meta-analysis: high-dosage vitamin E supplementation may increase all-cause mortality. Ann Intern Med 2005, authors Miller and colleagues
2) Effects of vitamin E on stroke subtypes: meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials
British Medical Journal, 2010
"Conclusion In this meta-analysis, vitamin E increased the risk for haemorrhagic stroke by 22%"

July 8, 2015 7:38 am

If you do have a loved one take Vitamin E, try to get the natural form, which is d-alphatocopherol. Naturemade sells the individual supplement in both synthetic and natural form. The synthetic form is dl-alphatocopherol. Unfortunately, this is the type I've found in most multivitamins.

Robert Chapman aka Bob
Robert Chapman aka Bob
February 28, 2016 1:11 pm

In my pure cynical manner, I believe that Big-Pharma has clouded the Vit E issue for years to protect their own profits. However, I have personally used Vit. E for years along with other supplements, and I am always keeping up on the studies. I find enough evidence of interference by the pharmaceutical industry using small studies geared to refuting positive studies or confusing the public with studies that have shown the results that meet their own purposes. Do not underestimate Big-Pharma!

Robert Chapman aka Bob
Robert Chapman aka Bob
September 28, 2016 12:59 pm

Given my earlier cynical anti-Big Pharma comment, I also agree with Carlos. Common sense and good objective readings of various studies should help one decide on any use of any product we put in our body to prevent or treat an illness. Most physicians rely on these studies exclusively and by default support the Pharma industry. (Though there are more enlightened physicians coming out of med school maintaining an open mind to alternative treatments.) My point is not to be naive in regards to the immoral activities of the pharmaceutical industry. It warrants caution on our own behalf to educate ourselves about supplementing our treatment, and about the drug industry and their history of controlling research. In fact, they fund most studies by universities and medical facilities. Bottom line: $$$.

September 12, 2018 4:48 pm

Alzheimer T-shirt, is designed for inspiration who are facing the Memory loss that disrupts daily life, Making occasional errors when balancing a checkbook., Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, at work or at leisure, Getting confused about the day of the week but figuring it out later., Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships, New problems with words in speaking or writing, Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps, Making a bad decision once in a while., Sometimes feeling weary of work, family and social obligations., Changes in mood and personality problems. I got out three tips for them if they follow they this 3 tips they will run out from this problem. This is one kind of awareness t-shirts for them. So I hope this t-shirt will give them inspiration so much.

B. Berger

B. Berger

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This site was inspired by my Mom’s autoimmune dementia.

It is a place where we separate out the wheat from the chaffe, the important articles & videos from each week’s river of news. With a new post on Alzheimer’s or dementia appearing on the internet every 7 minutes, the site’s focus on the best information has been a help to many over the past 15 years. Thanks to our many subscribers for your supportive feedback.

The site is dedicated to all those preserving the dignity of the community of people living with dementia.

Peter Berger, Editor


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