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Progress in Alzheimer’s: Vitamin E and Omega-3’s

Progress in Alzheimer’s: Vitamin E and Omega-3’s

Vitamin E preserves activities of daily living

In this study across 14 Veterans Affairs Medical Centers, 561 people with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease took 2,000 IU of vitamin E per day, 20 mg per day of the memory-loss drug memantine; these two together, or a placebo. After more than two years of follow-up, compared to placebo, doctorsb found vitamin E delayed the decline in daily functioning activities by 19 percent, or by more than six months.
Researchers also looked at changes in the amount of caregiver time and found those who took vitamin E alone had the smallest increase in time required of caregivers.
This is the first clinical trial to show an added benefit for vitamin E in mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease and, because vitamin E is inexpensive and readily available, should be part of treatment, doctors said.

Reference: Journal of the American Medical Association; 2014, Vol. 311, No. 1, 1810379

Omega-3s slow decline

The brain requires omega-3s and other essential fatty acids, and those with Alzheimer’s disease have lower-than-normal concentrations in the brain. In this study, 33 men and women with mild Alzheimer’s disease took 2,300 mg of high-DHA omega-3s per day, or a placebo. After six months, while the placebo group had not changed, those taking omega-3s had higher levels of DHA and EPA in the blood and in cerebrospinal fluid.
The cerebrospinal fluid finding is important in humans, doctors said, because before now they had not known if omega-3 supplements could cross the blood-brain barrier, a membrane network that separates the brain from the circulatory system and protects the central nervous system from harmful chemicals while allowing key nutrients to pass through and nourish the brain.
Doctors also found that as the levels of DHA increased, signs of Alzheimer’s disease and inflammation decreased, suggesting omega-3s may be helpful in preserving healthy cognitive and physical function.

Reference: Journal of Internal Medicine; January, 2014, Published Online

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