Vitamin E supplement decreases the risk of dying in Alzheimer’s patients

April 23, 2008

Researchers from Baylor College of Medicine report that Vitamin E supplements improve the survival of people suffering with Alzheimer’s disease. "Vitamin E has previously been shown to delay the progression of moderately severe Alzheimer's disease. Now, we've been able to show that vitamin E appears to increase the survival time of Alzheimer's patients as well," said lead author Valory Pavlik, PhD. In an interview with, Dr. Pavlik indicated that the results of the study, a long-term follow-up of an Alzheimer's disease patient cohort, are in-line with a randomized, placebo-controlled trial reported recently in the New England Journal of Medicine (1997, Vol. 336, pp. 1216-22), which showed a beneficial effect of vitamin E (2000 IU total per day) in Alzheimer’s patients.
Dr. Pavlik and co-workers followed 847 people with Alzheimer's disease (average age 73.5, with 67 per cent being female) for an average of 4.9 years. The standard recommendation for the patients was to consume 2000 IU of vitamin E daily from commercially available supplements "The daily amount of vitamin E taken by patients in this study was much higher than what is currently recommended for the general population," said Pavlik. Consumption of the vitamin, either with or without a cholinesterase inhibitor, was associated with a 26 per cent reduction in all-cause mortality that those who didn't take vitamin E, reported Dr. Pavlik.
In addition, the study found vitamin E plus a cholinesterase inhibitor may be more beneficial than taking either agent alone. "Our findings show that people who took a cholinesterase inhibitor without vitamin E did not have a survival benefit," said Pavlik. The data was presented at the American Academy of Neurology 60th Anniversary Annual Meeting on 15 April.