Vitamin E supplements may protect against ALS

March 22, 2011 in Nutrition Topics in the News

Vitamin E supplements may protect against ALS
New study findings from Harvard researchers are reporting that people who regularly take vitamin E supplements may have a decreased risk of developing the fatal neurological condition amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), otherwise known as Lou Gehrig's disease.

ALS is a fatal disease in which the nerve cells that control movement progressively degenerate, leading to paralysis and death from respiratory failure.

To investigate the link between vitamin E and ALS, researchers combined the results of five large U.S. studies involving more than 1 million adults.

They found that there was a relationship between the length of vitamin E use and ALS.

People who, at the start of their study, had been using vitamin E supplements regularly for at least five years were about one-third less likely than non-users to develop ALS.  Even after accounting for other lifestyle factors, such as people's weight, smoking habits, overall diet and exercise levels, longer use of vitamin E supplements (from multivitamins or single supplements) was still linked to a lower ALS risk.

While the researchers report in the American Journal of Epidemiology that it's too soon to make any recommendations on vitamin E to prevent ALS, the results are promising.

While this study focused on vitamin E supplements, food sources of the fat soluble vitamin include wheat germ, nuts such as almonds and hazelnuts, vegetable oils such as sunflower and safflower oils, and some green vegetables, such as spinach and broccoli.

To learn more about ALS, please visit the ALS Society of Canada.

All research on this web site is the property of Leslie Beck Nutrition Consulting Inc. and is protected by copyright. Keep in mind that research on these matters continues daily and is subject to change. The information presented is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. It is intended to provide ongoing support of your healthy lifestyle practices.