Vitamin E for Alzheimer’s Prevention

Did You Know…the best Alzheimer’s treatment isn’t a treatment at all—it’s prevention.  New research highlights a natural way to maintain your independence as long as possible.

Alzheimer’s is fast becoming the most feared condition of our generation.  In the time it takes you to read this article, two people will be told they have Alzheimer’s disease.  The Alzheimer’s Association estimates that someone is diagnosed every 70 seconds.  Alzheimer’s affects one in three people, a calculation that does not include the disease’s ripple effect that hits children, grandchildren, friends, and communities.

So far, modern medicine can do little to treat the condition, making prevention paramount.  That’s why scientists are so excited about a groundbreaking new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) in January 2014.  This incredible study revealed that vitamin E might be able to slow the progression of Alzheimer’s.

An Ounce of Prevention Outperforms Common Alzheimer’s Drug 

The JAMA study focused on 561 patients diagnosed with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s.  For this double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel-group, randomized clinical trial, participants were divided into four groups.

One group took 2,000 IUs of alpha tocopherol (vitamin E) daily, one took 20 mg of memantine (a popular Alzheimer’s drug), one took a combination of vitamin E and memantine, and the last took a placebo.  Researchers tracked the clinical progression of Alzheimer’s in each group for slightly over two years.

At the study’s conclusion, they found the disease developed 19% slower per year in the group taking vitamin E than in the group taking the placebo.  The delay translated to over six months of slowed progression over the two-year period.  The group taking vitamin E also required the most minimal increase in caregiver time.

There has yet to be any indication that vitamin E can prevent the disease, however, it does seem to help patients remain independent for longer.

The ABGs of Vitamin E 

When the media or even general practitioners respond to research like the JAMA study, they often overlook a central consideration: the type of vitamin E used for the trial.  The term “vitamin E” refers to a family of at least eight different fat-soluble antioxidant compounds.  The compounds are divded into two subfamilies, tocopherols (considered to be “true” vitamin E) and tocotrienols, each of which contains four different forms…



Now that you’ve learned the A, B, G, and D of vitamin E, there’s one last distinction to remember—natural versus synthetic.

Why Natural is Better 

Your body reacts differently to natural and synthetic vitamins.  Several studies demonstrate that natural vitamin E can be two to three times more bioactive than the same amount of synthetic vitamin E.  Most commercially available vitamin E is synthetic and essentially useless to those seeking to reap maximum health benefits.

     Ideally, you should take natural, full-spectrum vitamin E containing a mix of tocopherols and tocotrienols.  Alternative health expert Dr. Joseph Mercola recommends carefully reading the label to choose the best vitamin E supplement for your needs.  “Natural vitamin E is always listed as the ‘d-‘ form,” notes Mercola, whereas “synthetic vitamin E is listed as ‘dl-‘ forms.”

Mercola and others emphasize that the absolute best way to increase your vitamin D intake is to alter your diet.  This not only ensures you’re ingesting the natural form of the vitamin, but also provides you with hundreds of other compounds that synergistically enhance your wellbeing.  Dietary sources of vitamin E includes leafy green vegetables, some nuts, palm and barley oils, and rice bran.