Vitamin E and C supplements may prevent Alzheimer's

January 28, 2004 in Nutrition Topics in the News, Vitamins, Minerals, Supplements

Vitamin E and C supplements may prevent Alzheimer's
A study from The Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health involving more than 4700 participants strongly suggests that the combination of supplemental vitamin C and E lowers the risk of developing Alzheimer\'s disease.

Although more research needs to confirm this, the researchers say �vitamins E and C are relatively non-toxic and are believed to have wide-ranging health benefits, they may offer a very attractive strategy for preventing Alzheimer\'s disease.�

The findings come from the Cache County Study, which looked at the prevalence of Alzheimer\'s disease and other dementias in terms of genetic and environmental risk factors. As part of the study, people aged 65 and older were assessed for dementia between 1995 and 1997 and again between 1998 and 2000.

The participants were categorized as \\\"vitamin E users\\\" if they took an individual vitamin E tablet or a multivitamin containing more than 400 international units (IU) of vitamin E every day. They were classified as \\\"vitamin C users\\\" if they took at least 500 milligrams per day of vitamin C as a stand-alone tablet or in a multivitamin. If they took multivitamins containing lower dose, they were categorized as \\\"multivitamin users.\\"
According to the team\'s analysis, use of vitamin E and C supplements in combination lowered the odds of having Alzheimer\'s disease at the start of the study by about 78 percent, and the odds of developing the disease by about 64 percent during the follow-up period.

There was also a trend toward reduced Alzheimer\'s risk among people who took vitamin E and multivitamins containing vitamin C.

But there was no evidence of a protective effect with the use of vitamin E or C supplements alone, with multivitamins alone, or with vitamin B-complex supplements.

Currently, the recommended daily allowance for vitamin E is 22 IU (15 mg) and for vitamin C, 75 to 90 mg.

Although multivitamin preparations typically contain approximately these levels, individual supplements commonly contain doses up to 1000 IU of vitamin E and 500 to 1000 mg or more of vitamin C. The findings suggest that vitamins E and C may offer protection against AD when taken together in the higher doses available from individual supplements.

There may be a biological reason why the two vitamins together produce a benefit, related to the different duration of their antioxidant effects. Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin that sticks around in fat tissues of the body for a relatively long time. In contrast, vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin and is rapidly excreted from the body. Vitamin C may act to \'recharge\' the antioxidant powers of vitamin E so that vitamin E can sustain its job of soaking up free radicals and relieving oxidative stress in the body.

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