A report in the Archives of Neurology suggests that Vitamin E may play a modest role in altering the course of dementia. Compared with participants with the lowest intake, investigators found that those patients with higher vitamin E intake were 25% less likely to develop dementia.
"When beta-amyloid — a hallmark of pathologic Alzheimer disease — accumulates in the brain, an inflammatory response is likely evoked that produces nitric oxide radicals and downstream neurodegenerative effects," report investigators led by Elizabeth Devore, ScD, from the Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. "Vitamin E is a powerful fat-soluble antioxidant that may help to inhibit the pathogenesis of dementia."
Vitamin E is found in whole-grain foods, eggs, milk, nuts, seeds, avocado, spinach, and unheated vegetable oils. The Rotterdam Study previously found that higher dietary intakes of vitamins E and C were associated with a lower risk for dementia and Alzheimer's disease.
In this new long-term follow-up of the Rotterdam Study, investigators followed participants for 9.6 years. The population-based prospective cohort study included 5395 people free of disease at baseline.
A total of 465 people developed dementia. Of these, 365 were diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. The investigators found that higher dietary intake of vitamin E, but not vitamin C, beta carotene, or flavonoids, was associated with lower long-term risk for dementia.
These results conflict with previous findings, which suggested a link between vitamin C intake and dementia risk. Probably the bottom line is to eat a healthy diet.