New York: A daily dosage of vitamin E can slow functional decline and reduce caregiver time in assisting Alzheimer’s patients.

Researchers have found that alpha tocopherol – a fat-soluble vitamin (E) and antioxidant – in patients with moderately severe Alzheimer’s disease (AD) was shown to be effective in slowing clinical progression.

“We examined the effectiveness and safety of vitamin E and memantine (a drug used for the treatment of moderate to severe dementia of the Alzheimer’s type) in patients who were taking an acetylcholinesterase inhibitor (a chemical that increases the level and duration of action of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine),” said Maurice W. Dysken of the Minneapolis VA Health Care System.

The trial included 613 patients at 14 medical centres. Participants received either 2,000 IU/day of vitamin E, 20 mg/day of memantine, a combination of both vitamin E and memantine or placebo – a substance containing no medication and prescribed to reinforce a patient’s expectation to get well.

They found that participants receiving vitamin E had slower functional decline than those receiving placebo. Neither memantine nor the combination of vitamin E and memantine showed clinical benefit in this trial, claimed the study published in Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

“Because vitamin E is inexpensive, it is likely these benefits are cost-effective as alpha tocopherol improves functional outcomes and decreases caregiver burden,” concluded the study.

Source: IANS