During the study, the 613 participants with mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease received either a daily dose of vitamin E, memantine, a vitamin E-memantine combination or placebo, and change in functional decline was gauged over an average of 2.3 years. The study found that participants receiving vitamin E only had slower functional decline than those receiving placebo, with the annual rate of decline reduced by 19%.
The Alzheimer's Society said: "Treatments which can help people with dementia carry out everyday tasks are key to enabling those with the condition to live well for as long as possible. However, it is vitally important that people always seek advice from their doctor before considering taking supplements. In this instance, the dosage of vitamin E taken by participants was much higher than the recommended daily allowance and was at a level that could be significantly harmful for some. While this study into the link between vitamin E intake and reduction in functional decline is of interest, it is by no means conclusive. More research is needed to see if vitamin E really does have benefits for people with dementia, and whether it would be safe to be taking such a high dose on a daily basis."