Can Vitamin E Prevent Alzheimer’s?

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The claim: Vitamin E helps prevent Alzheimer’s disease.

The evidence: While there is some evidence that vitamin E slows the progression of Alzheimer’s, a recent trial-the first large-scale trial to investigate whether antioxidants can prevent dementia-found that neither vitamin E nor selenium (another antioxidant) was protective, whether used alone or in combination.

The study, published in JAMA Neurology in 2017, tested the effect of the two antioxidants on about 3,800 men who were at least 60 years old. Participants were divided into four groups, each took supplements or placebo for up to 15 years as follows: vitamin E (400 IU per day), selenium (200 micrograms per day), vitamin E plus selenium, or placebo. All participants were evaluated periodically for dementia, using screening tests and medical records.

Analysis showed that about the same percentage of each of the four groups-4 percent-developed dementia, indicating that neither supplement was protective.

The bottom line: Don’t waste your money on these supplements to prevent Alzheimer’s. A better investment in money and time would be to exercise regularly and follow a healthful diet to reduce your risk for cardiovascular disease. There is convincing evidence that these steps can also help reduce the risk for age-related cognitive decline.