Vitamin E

Starting in 2007 through 2012 the Trial of Vitamin E and Memantine [or their combination] in Alzheimer’s disease (TEAM-AD) looked at 613 mostly male patients who were taking an Aricept-type drug, too. Patients over six months to four years taking 2000 IU of vit. E daily had slower AD symptom progression (and less care-giver burnout) than placebo. However, the benefit from very modest basically they did 3 points better on a 78-point scale over two years suggesting the benefit would not be noticeable in real life settings.

The Research
Dr. Petersen et al. of the Mayo Clinic evaluated the utility of 2000 IU vit. E daily, 10 mg of donepezil (Aricept) daily or placebo over three years in 769 people with Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI). Individuals with MCI convert (progress) to Alzheimer’s disease at about 16% per year. They found no benefit of vit. E in MCI patients; although, they did see donepezil alone seemed to slow progression in the first 12 months of treatment. Their study was published in NEJM in 2005. As of April, 2016 the Cochrane organization looked for good studies of the use of vit. E in treating AD or MCI patients, and they found that vitamin E did not affect (reduce) the number of people with MCI from developing dementia over three years. One study did suggest better management of of basic activities of daily living (ADLs like bathing and dressing) in AD patients taking vit. E.

There have been conflicting data in the research regarding vitamins E and prostate cancer, as reported below by the NIH

In 1994, the Alpha-Tocopherol, Beta Carotene (ATBC) trial found a 35 percent reduced risk of prostate cancer in men taking 50 mg of vitamin E daily for a follow-up of six years.

In 2009, the Physicians Health Study II (PHS II) found that 400 IU of vitamin E every other day for a follow-up of eight years had no effect on the incidence of prostate cancer.

In 2011, the Selenium and Vitamin E Cancer Prevention Trial (SELECT) found a 17 percent increase in the risk of prostate cancer among men taking 400 IU of vitamin E daily for a follow-up of seven years. That risk equates to 1-2 more prostate cancers per 1000 patients who took high-dose vitamin E for one year. For reasons that are unclear, men who took both vitamin E and selenium did not have an increased rate of prostate cancer.

The above all come from this

The most recent update (2004) by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (UPSTF) has reviewed the literature as it applied to health adults typically aged 50 or older and concluded that there is/was enough available evidence to recommend against both β-carotene and vitamin E supplements for the prevention of cardiovascular disease or cancer. The Women’s Antioxidant and Cardiovascular Study (WACS) studied 2824 women aged 65+ over five years. Taking 400 mg of vitamin E every other day was not found to slow the rate of cognitive change over that time frame.

Does Vitamin E Prevent Dementia?

Over the years there has been emerging, consistent evidence that vit. E is potentially harmful causing increased risk of bleeding, death and heart failure especially in people with cardiovascular disease. Ultimately the best advice is summarized by Dr. Aaldy Tan, Medical Director of the UCLA’s Alzheimer’s and Dementia Care Program who says in a 11/18/14 issue of Medscape:
Alzheimer disease (AD) is a chronic, progressive illness for which there is no cure. In summary, vitamin E has been shown by large randomized controlled studies to decrease the rate of progression of AD in people with mild to moderate disease. However, the magnitude of this effect is very modest and may not be clinically noticeable. In addition, high-dose vitamin E should be recommended with caution in patients with increased risk for bleeding and those with known coronary heart disease or congestive heart failure. Vitamin E supplementation has no role in the prevention of dementia.

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