A new European study with 140 Finnish elderly reported that low serum levels of all the eight forms of vitamin E (four tocopherols and four tocotrienols) are linked to an increased risk of developing cognitive impairment.
According to the National Institute on Aging, Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a progressive brain disease that destroys memory and thinking skills. Symptoms of AD would manifest in most Alzheimer’s patients after age 60. AD is also preceded by mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and research suggests that oxidative and nitrosative stresses are main triggers of AD by causing damages to brain cells. These damages can be detected in MCI patients.
This new multi-centered study published in the Experimental Gerontology was conducted by researchers from Karolinska Institute (Sweden); University of Perugia (Italy); Kuopio University Hospital, University of Eastern Finland, as well as the National Institute for Health and Welfare (Finland).140 Finnish subjects from the Cardiovascular Risk Factors, Aging, and Dementia (CAIDE) study who were free of cognitive impairment at the beginning of the study were followed up for eight years in order to establish associations between the risk of cognitive impairment and serum vitamin E levels, as well as vitamin E oxidative/nitrosative damages.
Subjects who developed cognitive impairment were found to have lower serum levels of alpha and gamma tocopherol, total tocopherols, total tocotrienols, and total vitamin E, with statistically significant association with gamma-tocotrienol. Specifically, they had significantly lower levels of gamma-tocopherol and gamma-tocotrienol than controls. Significantly higher levels of 5-NO2-γ-tocopherol/γ-tocopherol ratio (one of the vitamin E oxidative/nitrosative indices) were also detected in this group of subjects.
On the other hand, risk of cognitive impairment was lower in subjects with higher levels of gamma-tocopherol, beta-tocotrienol, and total tocotrienols.
The results from this study further confirmed earlier published results from these same researchers that higher serum levels of all eight forms of vitamin E are associated with a reduced risk of cognitive impairment in older adults. The researchers also concluded that each individual vitamin E form (with gamma-tocotrienol being most potent) has its unique function in human health and thus, must be individually studied in order to provide the most accurate measure of vitamin E status in humans.
“For a long time, the nutritional and scientific community assumed that vitamin E is synonymous with alpha-tocopherol, which is somewhat of a misnomer. In nature, Vitamin E consists of eight chemically distinct compounds, four tocopherols and four tocotrienols represented by alpha, beta, gamma, and delta prefixes. This new study coming out from Europe once again validates the protective role of each individual vitamin E form, especially the tocotrienols, in improving cognitive functions of older adults,” says WH Leong, vice president, Carotech Inc.
“Contrary to what has been spread over the Internet, tocopherols do not interfere with tocotrienols’ function. As a matter of fact, this study yet again proves that we need both tocopherols and tocotrienols. They are important in its natural forms as found in our diet and as nature intended,” added Leong
“Tocomin SupraBio patented and bioenhanced natural full spectrum palm tocotrienol/tocopherol complex is the only tocotrienol complex in the market that has clinically proven bioavailability (absorption into the plasma) and bioefficiency (distribution/ deposition into vital human organs, like brain, heart, and so on) in human. It is the most bioavailable tocotrienol complex in the market, with both published and on-going clinical studies for supporting healthy brain and cognitive health,” says Bryan See, regional product manager, Carotech Inc.
Mangialasche F, et al. (2013). Serum levels of vitamin E forms and risk of cognitive impairment in a Finnish cohort of older adults. Exp Gerontol, 48 (12), 1428-1435.