Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center
Vitamin E may slow spread of Alzheimer's Disease
The Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center is participating in a groundbreaking study on Alzheimer's patients and how an inexpensive vitamin can impact them. The results are promising for those suffering with the disease.
The study finds that vitamin E can slow down the progression of Alzheimer's disease by up to two years.
Charleston's VA Medical Center was one of only ten in the country picked for this exclusive study. In a study of more than 600 older Veterans, high doses of the vitamin delayed the decline in daily living skills, such as making meals, getting dressed and holding a conversation, by about six months over a two-year period.
Dr. Jacobo Mintzer of the VA Medical Center says that an antioxidant in vitamin E is able to slow the progression of oxidation in the brain and compares oxidation to how a car can rust. With high doses of vitamin E, doctors found they were able to slow that process. Vitamin E did not preserve thinking abilities, though, and it did no good for patients who took it with another Alzheimer's medication. But those taking vitamin E alone required less help from caregivers — about two fewer hours each day than some others in the study.
"It's not a miracle or, obviously, a cure," said Mintzer." We did, however, see big improvements in the patients' ability to function on their own and very little side effects."
This news could be life changing for the 50,000 Alzheimer's patients in South Carolina
"We can affect those subjects that already have the disease and we can help them to preserve their ability to be independent, which in other words means to preserve their dignity for a longer period of time," said Mintzer.
Mintzer says this is not only a relief for Alzheimer's patients, but their caretakers as well.
"Even with a terrible disease these Veterans answered the call to duty, and served their country one more time," said Mintzer.
If you think vitamin E may help your condition, talk to your doctor.
If you're interested in participating in the study, doctors are looking for more people. You can contact the VA Medical Center.