Most folks are surprised when I tell them that a common vitamin you can pick up at your local drug store or online could hold the key to putting the brakes on dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
A small but exciting 2014 study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association, revealed that vitamin E not only may be able to slow the progression of this devastating disease, but that it may do a better job than the best-selling dementia drug memantine.
Even more surprising was that when vitamin E was combined with memantine it appeared to cancel out the benefits that were seen with the vitamin alone.
Dementia drug failed to deliver benefits
For the study a group of 613 veteran volunteers who had mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease were randomly divided into four testing groups.
- Group one received a 2000 I.U dose of vitamin E daily
- Group two received the dementia drug memantine and a placebo
- Group three got a combo of vitamin E and memantine
- Group four received only a placebo
The scientists hoped that the folks in group three who got both the vitamin and the drug would get the benefits of both. Unfortunately that wasn’t the case.
In fact, while all the groups saw some decline in memory and the ability to complete tasks, the lucky veterans in group one who received the vitamin E alone scored significantly better on tests designed to measure how well they performed daily functions. In fact, they did so well it adds up to about a 6-month delay in decline.
So what about group two who got the drug alone?
They didn’t receive any measurable benefits either. In other words, vitamin E clobbered the bestselling dementia drug while that same drug appeared to cancel out the potential benefits of the vitamin according to the study.
The fake vitamin E mistake researchers made
The results are certainly exciting. Halting decline for six months is reason enough to talk with your doctor today about adding vitamin E to a loved one’s dementia or Alzheimer’s treatment plan.
But here’s the thing. Some of vitamin E’s potential benefits may have been suppressed. The researchers opted to use a synthetic form of the vitamin known as d,l-alpha E instead of the real deal. And that means the veterans who got the vitamin E may not have gotten every benefit they could have from the supplement.
Because despite what many folks who practice conventional mainstream medicine believe, what form a vitamin takes could make a big difference.
You see real vitamin E is a potent antioxidant that’s made up of eight distinct molecules. Those molecules are divided into two groups: alpha, beta, and delta tocopherols or alpha, beta, and gamma tocotrienols.
We still have a lot to learn about each of the individual molecules, but we already do know is that nature combined them into these two distinct groups for a good reason.
Vitamin E is found naturally in…
- green leafy vegetables,
- and certain oils.
But getting enough of this valuable vitamin from diet alone can be challenging. And getting the levels used in this study from food alone is probably impossible (I’ll have more on that, including a caution, in just a moment).
Skip synthetics and go natural instead
When you pick out a vitamin E supplement, look for a mixed tocopherol. And be sure you’re getting a natural version.
Just take a look at the label to be sure it contains 100 percent natural sources. And if you spot the letters “dl” in a vitamin name you can be sure it’s a synthetic version.
I usually recommend a 400 I.U supplement of a natural mixed tocopherol vitamin E daily, but I’ve always made it clear that I believe higher amounts of the NATURAL version of the vitamin are perfectly safe and may even be desirable for fighting certain diseases.
Fight Alzheimer’s decline without drugs
This study did appear to confirm the safety and benefits of significantly higher amounts of vitamin E even using a synthetic version. However, if someone you care about is suffering from early Alzheimer’s or dementia, you shouldn’t attempt vitamin E therapy on your own.
Instead, seek out the help of an experienced naturopathic doctor. Alzheimer’s is a complicated disease and a naturopath will be able to tailor a personalized treatment plan for your loved one, so that he will get the most benefits possible.
That plan may include other natural interventions such as…
Studies show that low D is consistently linked to cognitive decline, dementia and Alzheimer’s.
Studies show B vitamins may help slow brain shrink helping us hold on to more gray matter longer.
Folks who regularly eat omega-3 rich fish reduce their risk of cognitive issues including dementia and Alzheimer’s by nearly five times. In addition, fish fans have higher levels or working memory and are able to focus on task, and commit info to short-term memory better than folks who avoid seafood
Other studies have shown omega-3 supplements could help improve brain health.
According to researcher’s, resveratrol—the antioxidant found in grapes and red wine—could help dementia and Alzheimer’s patients remain independent longer.
Dr. Allan Spreen
Nationally acclaimed as America’s “Nutrition Physician,” Dr. Spreen has been helping people stay healthy and disease-free as a private doctor, published author, and noted researcher.
In addition to his role as a Senior Member of the prestigious Health Sciences Institute Advisory Panel in Baltimore, MD, Dr. Spreen also coaches diving at the international and Olympic levels. NorthStar Nutritionals is proud to have Dr. Spreen as their Chief Research Advisor.
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