Low Vitamin C and Vitamin E as Delta and Gamma Tocopherol levels are related to white matter lesions in the brain and low levels contribute to blood vessel disease of the brain

January 11, 2013

Background Information; White matter lesions visualized by MRIs are a sign of blood vessel disease in the elderly. Intracranial Arteriosclerosis is a name for these blood vessel diseases of the brain. They are characterized by thickening, hardening, and remodeling of the walls of intracranial arteries. There are three subtypes: (1) atherosclerosis, marked by fatty deposits in the innermost layer of the artery walls, (2) Monckeberg's arteriosclerosis, which features calcium deposits in the media or middle layer of blood vessel walls and (3) arteriolosclerosis, which refers to sclerosis or stiffening of smaller arteries typically caused by inflammation. Clinically, this process may be associated with strokes and blood clots in the brain.

Doctors at the Department of Neurology and Gerontology, at Kyoto Prefectural University of Medicine in Japan determined the effects of vitamins and carotenoids on brain white matter lesions in 469 healthy middle-aged to elderly study participants. They all underwent medical examinations for deep white matter lesions (DWLs) which are visualized using magnetic resonance imaging.

DWLs were detected via MRI in 39 subjects. The effects of vitamin and carotenoid levels were then evaluated on DWLs.Lower gamma-tocopherol levels were significantly associated with DWLs in all subjects. While lower gamma-tocopherol and vitamin C levels were significantly associated with DWLs in men. Lower delta-tocopherol levels were associated with DWLs in women. The associations between DWLs and lower gamma- and delta-tocopherol and vitamin C levels were independent of age, hypertension, or smoking.

The researchers conclusion was that lower Vitamin E as gamma or delta tocopherol and lower vitamin C levels were independently associated with cerebral DWLs in Japanese subjects. The study is published in the December 2012 issue of the Journal of Nutrition, Health and Aging.