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Vitamin E: Eye and Brain Health

Friday, January 28, 2011

Vitamin E is a family of eight natural components, but most studies related to diseases of the eye and brain simply look at alpha tocopherol, which is only one of the Vitamin E components. 

The eight forms of the Vitamin E family are: alpha tocopherol, beta tocopherol, gamma tocopherol, delta tocopherol AND alpha tocotrienol, beta tocotrienol, gamma tocotrienol, and delta tocotrienol.

A recent Swedish study published in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease suggests that high levels of the entire vitamin E family components in the blood were associated with a decreased risk for Alzheimer's disease in advanced age. 

This is an outrageously exciting study for those with a family connection to this dreadful disease.

This study was conducted at the Aging Research Center, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden in collaboration with the Institute of Gerontology and Geriatrics, University of Perugia, Italy.  The 6 year study was on 232 80+ year old dementia-free participants.  57 Alzheimer's patients were identified during the length of study.

The blood levels of all eight natural vitamin E components were measured at the beginning of the study.  The study found that subjects with higher blood levels of all the vitamin E family forms had a reduced risk of developing Alzheimer's, compared to subjects with lower levels.  The risk of developing the disease was reduced by 45-54%, depending on the vitamin E component.

The study conclusion suggests that low plasma levels of vitamin E in late life may be involved in the development of clinical expression of Alzheimer's.  The study investigators further suggest that the protective activity of vitamin E seems to be related to the combination of different forms, rather than alpha tocopherol alone, justifying the protective effect of dietary intake observed in epidemiological studies and the disappointing results observed in clinical trials using alpha tocopherol supplements.  

In light of the results of this study and of the evidence around Vitamin E component synergy, it's reasonable to suggest that not only Vitamin E alpha-tocopherol, but also other tocopherols and Vitamin E tocotrienols may play an important role in all neural tissue disease including macular degeneration and Alzheimer's prevention in advanced age.

Ellen Troyer, MT MA                                                                                                                                                                    

Biosyntrx CEO / Chief Research Officer                                                                                                                                                    



The body of science is growing that supports supplementing with the full-spectrum of the Vitamin E molecule instead of restricting supplementation to the alpha tocopherol form alone.  Biosyntrx Macula Complete includes the full spectrum of Vitamin E molecules.  The 30 mg of vitamin E mixed tocotrienols are listed below the line on the supplement fact box to meet FDA label regulations.

Don't miss reading and commenting on this week's Biosyntrx blog.  It addresses the unfortunate article on antioxidants published in this week's Newsweek magazine.

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High plasma levels of vitamin E forms and reduced Alzheimer's disease risk in advanced age. Mangialasche F, Klvipelto P, et al. J Alzheimers Dis. 2010: 20(4):1029-37. [abstract]

Vitamin E forms in Alzheimer's disease: a review of controversial and clinical experiences. Usoro OB, Mousa SA. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2010 May;50(5): 414-9 [abstract]

Neuronutrition and Alzheimer's disease. ramsch BN, Rao TS, et al. J Alzheimers Dis. 2010;19(4):1123-39 [abstract]

Inplications of apolipoprotein E genotype on inflammation and vitamin E status. Huebbe P, Lodge JK, rimbach G. Mol Nutr Food Res. 2010 May;54(5):623-30 [abstract]

Vitamin E use is associated with improved survival in an Azheimer's disease cohort. Pavlik VN, Doody RS, et al. Dement Geriatr Cogn Disord. 2009;2896):536-40 [abstract]

Vitamin E may affect the life expectancy of men, depending on dietary vitamin E intake and smoking. Hemila H, Kaprio J, Age Ageing. 2011 Jan 17. [abstract]