The Role of Vitamin E in Aging and Alzheimer’s Disease

  • Gunter P. EckertEmail author
Part of the Nutrition and Health book series (NH)


Rising life expectancy is leading to an increasing number of patients with age-related diseases, including neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease (AD). One of the hallmarks of AD are elevated markers of oxidative damage, as increased concentrations of oxidized nucleic acids, proteins, and lipids have been found in AD brains. Vitamin E is an essential antioxidant micronutrient and plays an important role in protecting cells from oxidative damage, such as the harmful effects of free radicals observed in brain aging and AD. Animal studies showed sufficient evidence to consider a treatment with vitamin E for patients suffering from AD. However, the results of clinical studies on AD patients are conflicting. To date, there is no convincing evidence from meta-analyses on randomized, placebo-controlled trials that vitamin E alone or in combination with other antioxidants prevents the progression or improves cognitive function in people with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) or AD. Additional research is needed to explore the effects of vitamin E treatment on other clinically relevant outcomes, such as quality of life. Furthermore, and in addition to the practical challenges when conducting randomized trials among older people with AD, key issues that need to be carefully considered for further vitamin E therapy trials include dosing, timing, mono- or multimodal therapy, and selection of different vitamers including γ-tocopherol and tocotrienols.


Alzheimer’s disease Clinical trials Mild cognitive impairment Reactive species Tocopherols Tocotrienols Vitamin E 



Alzheimer’s Disease Assessment Scale-cognitive subscale


Brief Praxis Test


Blessed dementia scale


Clinical dementia rating


Clock drawing test


Consortium to Establish a Registry in Alzheimer’s Disease


Spontaneous clock drawing task


Cohort study


The Dementia Questionnaire for Mentally Retarded Persons Sum of Cognitive Scores


Dementia Rating Scale


Down syndrome


Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-IV diagnosis


Oxidized glutathione (glutathione disulfide)


Longitudinal study


Mild cognitive impairment


Memory Impairment Screen


Mini-Mental State Examination


Not calculated


Not specified


Open-label study


Randomized clinical trial


Severe Impairment Battery


Modified Telephone Interview for Cognitive Status


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Justus-Liebig-University Giessen, Institute of Nutritional SciencesGiessenGermany

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