Concerned about stroke? A two-year study finds that vitamin E from Malaysian palm oil helps to protect brain’s white matter

hile you may know about your brain’s gray matter, did you also know that about 50 percent of your brain is made of white matter? The health of your brain’s white matter affects how well it learns and functions. This is also the area of the brain most often affected by stroke. Now results of a two-year human clinical study published in the American Heart Association journal, Stroke, show that vitamin E tocotrienols derived from Malaysian palm oil supports white matter health by weakening the progression of white matter lesions.

This human study is exciting because it is the first that provides solid evidence of tocotrienols’ neuroprotective benefits in humans. It complements previous research in cell cultures and animal models funded by the National Institutes of Health that has shown that alpha tocotrienols may lessen stroke damage, and may help to accelerate recovery of functional loss.

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Vitamin E ‘beneficial’ in dementia

A daily dose of vitamin E could help people with dementiabrain

A study in the journal JAMA found people with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease on high doses of vitamin E had a slower rate of decline than those given a dummy pill.

They were able to carry out everyday tasks for longer and needed less help from carers, say US researchers.

The Alzheimer’s Society said the dosage was very high and might not be safe.

In the study, 613 people with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease received either a daily dose of vitamin E, a dementia drug treatment known as memantine, a combination of vitamin E and memantine, or placebo.

Changes in their ability to carry out everyday tasks – such as washing or dressing – were measured over an average of two years.

The study found participants receiving vitamin E had slower functional decline than those receiving placebo, with the annual rate of decline reduced by 19%.

Dysken MW, Sano M, Asthana S, et al. Effect of Vitamin E and Memantine on Functional Decline in Alzheimer Disease: The TEAM-AD VA Cooperative Randomized Trial. JAMA.2014;311(1):33-44. 

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High Intake of Vitamin E Tocotrienol May Reduce Alzheimer’s Risk

Studies published in international peer-reviewed journals have highlighted Vitamin E’s neuroprotective benefits, an activity largely attributed to Vitamin E’s antioxidant properties. Oxidative stress plays a major role in the development and progression of AD. Results from the Rotterdam Study, one of the largest study to date on the effects of dietary antioxidant intake on dementia risk in over 5,000 subjects have shown that high intake of vitamin E- rich food sources can modestly reduce the long-term risk of dementia and AD.

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Studies show how tocotrienols reduce stroke damage

Reports published online on June 15, 2011 in the Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow & Metabolism and on June 30, 2011 in the journal Stroke reveal the findings of Ohio State University professor Chandan K. Sen and his associates of protective effects for tocotrienols against the damage incurred by stroke. Alpha, beta, gamma and delta tocotrienols are four of the eight forms in which vitamin E occurs and, while not abundant in Western diets, are available in supplemental form.

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