January 20, 2004
Vitamin C, E In High Dose Combination May Protect Against Alzheimer's

Vitamins C and E in combination appear to reduce the incidence and prevalence of Alzheimer's Disease.

Peter P. Zandi, Ph.D., of The Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, and colleagues examined the relationship between antioxidant supplement use and risk of AD.

The researchers assessed the prevalence of dementia and AD in 4,740 elderly (65 years or older) residents of Cache County, Utah in 1995 to 1997 and collected information about supplement use. These residents were followed-up in 1998 to 2000 for new cases of dementia or AD. The researchers identified 200 cases of AD (prevalent cases) between 1995 and 1997, and 104 new cases (incident cases) of AD during follow-up.

The researchers categorized participants as vitamin E users if they reported taking an individual supplement of vitamin E or a multivitamin containing more than 400 IU (international units) of vitamin E. Vitamin C users reported taking vitamin C supplements or multivitamins containing at least 500 micrograms of ascorbic acid. Individuals were classified as multivitamin users if they reported taking multivitamins containing lower doses of vitamin E or C.

The researchers found the greatest reduction in both prevalence and incidence of AD in participants who used individual vitamin E and C supplements in combination, with or without an additional multivitamin. "Use of vitamin E and C (ascorbic acid) supplements in combination reduced AD prevalence [by about 78 percent] and incidence [by about 64 percent]," the authors write.

The researchers also found "no appreciable association with the use of vitamin C alone, vitamin E alone, or vitamin C and multivitamins in combination," and prevalence of AD.

"The current… recommended daily allowance for vitamin E is 22 IU (15 micrograms), and for vitamin C (ascorbic acid), 75 to 90 micrograms," the researchers write. "Multivitamin preparations typically contain these approximate quantities of both vitamins E and C (more vitamin C in some instances), while individual supplements typically contain doses up to 1,000 IU of vitamin E and 500 to 1,000 micrograms or more of vitamin C (ascorbic acid). Our findings suggest that vitamins E and C may offer protection against AD when taken together in the higher doses available from individual supplements."

The combination of C and E works far better than either alone.

Antioxidant vitamin supplements, particularly vitamins E and C, may protect the aging brain against damage associated with the pathological changes of Alzheimer's disease, according to a study conducted by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and other institutions. The researchers believe antioxidant vitamin supplements may be an ideal prevention strategy for our aging population as they are relatively nontoxic and are thought to have wide-ranging health benefits. The study, "Reduced Risk of Alzheimer's Disease in Users of Antioxidant Vitamin Supplements" is published in the January 2004, issue of the journal Archives of Neurology.

Peter P. Zandi, PhD, lead author of the study and an assistant professor in the School's Department of Mental Health, said, "These results are extremely exciting. Our study suggests that the regular use of vitamin E in nutritional supplement doses, especially in combination with vitamin C, may reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease."

The researchers examined data from the Cache County Study, which is a large, population-based investigation of the prevalence and incidence of Alzheimer's disease and other dementias. Residents who were 65 or older were assessed from 1996-1997 and again from 1998-2000. Study participants were asked at their first contact about vitamin usage. The researchers then compared the subsequent risk of developing Alzheimer's disease over the study interval among supplement users versus nonusers to come to their conclusions.

The doses of C and E that have the best prospects of working are fairly high.

Researchers believe the most effective doses were vitamin E in liquid capsules of 400 to 1,000 International Units and vitamin C in pill form of 500 to 1,500 milligrams.

If you want to take Vitamin E to reduce your risk of Alzheimer's Disease then be aware that it is best to take E with oil and perhaps a food grain for maximum absorption. (same article here)

The pill of 400 I.U. vitamin E taken with just a glass of milk, in theory should have provided more than 13 times the RDA of this nutrient. But, in fact, it raised the level of new vitamin E in the blood by only 3 percent. By comparison, the cereal fortified with 30 I.U. vitamin E raised the blood plasma level of new vitamin E five times higher than that, and the cereal fortified with 400 I.U. raised the new blood plasma level 30 times higher.

The effect of a pill of 400 I.U. taken with a serving of plain wheat cereal was inconsistent; some participants had a significant increase in blood plasma levels of vitamin E, others almost none. "This study clearly showed that applying vitamin E onto a grain cereal provided a huge and consistent increase in its bioavailability," said Scott Leonard, an LPI research assistant who conducted the study. "Even 30 I.U., the RDA for this vitamin, produced a large increase in new blood plasma levels."

Vitamin E with pasta and a pasta sauce with oil would probably be a great way to maximize absorption.

Share |      Randall Parker, 2004 January 20 02:18 AM  Brain Alzheimers Disease

Fly said at January 20, 2004 7:44 PM:

“Researchers believe the most effective doses were vitamin E in liquid capsules of 400 to 1,000 International Units and vitamin C in pill form of 500 to 1,500 milligrams.”

My mutli-vitamin doesn’t contain sufficient vitamin C and E to provide protection. I’m guessing that most multi-vitamins don’t. A simple supplement could save billions in future health care costs.

Perhaps the government should sponsor a free preventative health pill for everyone over fifty-five. It would be based on the following British pill and also include the necessary vitamin C and E and maybe a healthy dose of green tea.

“Everyone over 55 should take a 'miracle pill' which could cut their risk of having a heart attack or a stroke by 80%, researchers say.”


J. Peden said at January 22, 2004 8:39 AM:

"Everyone over 55 should take a 'miracle pill' which could cut their risk of having a heart attack or a stroke by 80%, researchers say.”

These "researchers" basically advise giving people medicine for conditions they don't have, in order to cover everyone who does have at least one condition covered, but perhaps not the others, but who has resisted getting diagnosed. This is a dangerous, thus irresponsible, idea. Why not simply get diagnosed then specifically treated?

Fly said at January 22, 2004 10:56 AM:

Peden, my focus was on reducing the Medicare burden on society. Prevention is far cheaper than treating a disease. In general doctors focus on treating diseases, not preventing them. So they often ignore moderately high blood pressure or cholesterol because the “disease” threshold hasn’t been crossed.

You might be right about high blood pressure. Best to get a proper diagnosis and effective treatment under a doctor’s care. However moderately high blood pressure isn’t considered a disease but is associated with increased risk of heart disease and stroke. A mild medicine could reduce blood pressure and thereby reduce the chance for disease developing.

There is no test to determine a person’s long-term risk for developing heart disease, stroke, cancer, or Alzheimer’s disease. There is strong evidence that good nutrition, exercise, and supplements such as vitamins C and E, aspirin, and green tea extract significantly reduce long-term risk for these diseases. It is much cheaper for society to prevent these diseases than to treat them.

Most people don’t take responsibility for their health. They do nothing until a major problem occurs. Then society picks up a major bill for treatment.

I’m suggesting that there exists sufficient evidence that supplements do lower disease risk that the government has a role to play in promoting their use. Offering the pill for free might encourage use by the poorest segment of society and thereby lower future Medicare bills.

Penny said at July 21, 2004 8:58 AM:

I take the following vitamins
1- multi
1-flax seed
1- Q-10/60mg
1- B-Complex
1- C
1- E
1- Lecithin

Is his good for High Blood Pressure and Cholesterol?
Thanks for any input

lee small said at September 8, 2004 12:11 AM:

i've been taking vit e and c for years. in addition i take cumaden for arterial fibrilation. is vit e to be avoided when taking cumaden?

Bob O'Donnell said at August 10, 2005 4:28 PM:

Dr. David G. Williams promotes, in one of his direct mail pieces, that: Amyloid Plaque is loaded with "aluminum" and that the silicon in "beer" will remove aluminum buildups in the brain resulting in the flushing of "this alzheimer's risk" out of your system, down the toilet.

Googling beer and alzheimers led me to a U. of Wisconsin study that says
guys with beer bellies are at an "increased risk" of Alzheimers because
.....their blood levels of the amyloid plaque producing protein is reduced in beer drinkers, but the brain levels are significantly increased!!!!!!!!!

Any thoughts? Comments?

mike said at November 3, 2009 5:56 AM:

I take a vitamin c supplement of 1000mg per day to keep me healthy. If I feel tired or unwell I will up that to 3-5 grams of vitamin c per day. It works every time. I would not be without my vitamin c.

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