Possible New Treatment Option for Alzheimer’s Patients
While there is no cure for Alzheimer’s Disease, patients and caregivers are finding new promise and hope in the form of an everyday supplement: Vitamin E. Though nothing has been shown to reverse the confusion or loss of memory associated with Alzheimer’s, studies show that Vitamin E may slow down the progression of worsening symptoms.
The Journal of the American Medical Association conducted a study on the effect of Vitamin E on patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s Disease. While no patients should begin self-medicating with Vitamin E without proper supervision from a doctor, the results were certainly promising and prove that more research should be done to increase treatment options for Alzheimer’s patients.
The study done by JAMA included four control groups, one of which was treated with only Vitamin E supplements and one of which was treated with a combination of Vitamin E and memantine. Memantine is a drug typically used for Alzheimer’s patients that is said to help slow the symptoms of the disease.
The group of patients that were treated with only the Vitamin E supplements showed a slower decline in independence and maintained an ability to complete daily tasks longer than the patients in all the other groups. Researchers noted that the lack of decline in the Vitamin E-only group might be as significant as a patient continuing to be able to bathe or dress oneself. This is a significant improvement, as this delay in negative progression equals a little more than six months!
The delay in clinical progression of the disease was 19% greater in the Vitamin E-only group than in the placebo-only group. While the cognitive functions of each group were not substantially affected, the improvement of daily activities was very significant and almost unheard of in a trial like this. This alone warrants further research and more studies on this very topic.
The Vitamin E plus memantine group did not show the drastic differences in cognitive or daily functions that the researchers expected (compared to the placebo group). This, however, bewildered the researchers and is one main reason to conduct more research. It is possible that the combination of the symptom-slowing supplement and the symptom-slowing drug negated each other. This seems to point to the fact that Vitamin E alone may prove to be a more favorable treatment of Alzheimer’s disease than other previously trusted medications.
The results of this JAMA study are clearly promising. But, you might ask, what about Vitamin E presents it as a possible option for Alzheimer’s?
The form of Vitamin E used in this study is alpha tocopherol. It is a vitamin, but it is also an antioxidant. This means that it protects cells and brain tissue from the chemical wear and tear that a body typically experiences, and it helps to slow down the processes that damage cells. Vitamin E is vital for the proper function of organs.
Vitamin E could unmistakably effect long-term improvements on Alzheimer’s patients’ treatment and care.