New Study shows Vitamin E, and drugs that reduce generalized inflammation, may actually slow the decline of mental and physical abilities in persons suffering with Alzheimer’s disease (AD).

There’s been a great deal of conflicting information and research for Vitamin E the past several years. Now there’s a report of “real-world” clinical data indicates that shows that vitamin E, and drugs that reduce generalized inflammation, may actually slow the decline of mental and physical abilities in persons suffering with Alzheimer’s disease (AD)

According to Dr. Alireza Atri “Our results are consistent for a potential benefit of vitamin E on slowing functional decline and a smaller possible benefit of anti-inflammatory medications on slowing cognitive decline in patients suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.”

Dr. Atri, who has privileges and works with Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), the VA Bedford Medical Center, and Boston’s Harvard Medical School, which led the National Institutes of Health-sponsored research. These findings, were reported at the annual meeting of the American Geriatrics Society in Chicago, stem from data on 540 patients treated at the MGH Memory Disorders Unit.

All of the patients were receiving standard-of-care treatment with a drug intended to help patients with Alzheimer’s. As part of their clinical care, 208 patients also took vitamin E but no anti-inflammatory, 49 took an anti-inflammatory but no vitamin E, 177 took both vitamin E and an anti-inflammatory, and 106 took neither.

While the daily recommended dose of vitamin E ranged from 200 to 2000 units, the majority of patients were given high doses that ranged from 800 units daily to 1000 units twice daily.

Each patient’s performance on cognitive tests and their ability to carry out daily functions such as dressing and personal care were assessed every 6 months. After an average of 3 years, “there was a modest slowing of decline in function in those patients taking vitamin E,” study investigator Michael R. Flaherty noted in a telephone interview with Reuters Health.

Flaherty, a second-year student at the University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine in Biddeford, Maine, presented the findings at the meeting. He added that the treatment benefit from vitamin E was “small to medium” but increased with time.

Taking an anti-inflammatory medication has long been associated with “very consistent but generally only slight effects on slowing long-term decline in cognitive functioning,” according to Dr. William Gruss, MD of Boca Raton Florida.

However, those patients included in this study who took both vitamin E and anti-inflammatory medications, there appeared to be an noticeable additive effect in terms of slowing overall decline.

“Clearly, between the results of past studies and the equivocal results of this latest National Institutes of Health-sponsored test, further studies are needed to assess the long-term balance of risks versus benefits for people with Alzheimer’s disease from taking vitamin E and anti-inflammatory drugs” insists Dr. Gruss. The upside potential is too promising to ignore.

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