While there is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease, there are ways to slow the progression. The earlier the intervention, the better the results. Previous research has suggested that vitamin E is effective in treating advanced stages of Alzheimer’s, but new research shows it also helps in the early stages of the disease.
For the study, Maurice Dysken, MD, at the Minneapolis VA Health Care System, studied more than 600 patients around the country with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease. The participants were split into three groups: one group receiving memantine, a standard treatment for Alzheimer’s disease, a second group receiving vitamin E only, and a third group receiving both. These participants were then compared to a placebo group.
The results showed the group getting vitamin E did significantly better than the other two groups, when compared to the placebo. Even though all three groups showed cognitive decline, the group that received vitamin E only declined the least. At the end of around two years, those who received memantine needed an additional five hours of daily caregiving, while the vitamin E group only needed an additional three hours of caregiving.
“For people who are in the early stage of Alzheimer’s disease, I think any delay in the rate of progression is meaningful and important,” Dr. Dysken said.