Liberal amounts of natural vitamin E may be helpful in warding off the memory stealing Alzheimer's disease (AD) risk in the old age.

A study conducted by Swedish scientists concluded that people with higher blood levels of all the Vitamin-E family forms had a reduced risk of developing AD, compared to subjects with lower levels, indicating that it could help prevent cognitive deterioration in the elderly.

The team at the Aging Research Center (ARC), Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, conducted a study spread across 232 people aged above 80 years. It was a population-based longitudinal study on aging and dementia in Stockholm.

"Vitamin E is a family of eight natural components, but most studies related to Alzheimer's disease investigate only one of these components, tocopherol,” stated Dr Francesca Mangialasche, who led the study in collaboration with the Institute of Gerontology and Geriatrics, University of Perugia, Italy. Mangialasche suggested all the vitamin E family members could be important in protecting against Alzheimer's disease.

None of the participants had Alzheimer's disease at the beginning of the study. However, 57 of the elderly participants developed Alzheimer's disease after 6 years. All the participants were tested to measure all eight natural vitamin E components in their blood at the start of the study.

On comparing the subjects with higher blood levels with those who had lower blood levels, the researchers found the Alzheimer's disease risk was reduced by 45-54 percent, depending on the vitamin E levels in their blood, reports published in the July 2010 issue of the Journal of Alzheimer s Disease.

If confirmed through broader studies, this result has implications for both individuals and society, as 70 percent of all dementia cases in the general population occur in people over 75 years of age, and the study suggests a protective effect of vitamin E against AD in individuals aged 80 plus, Dr Francesca Mangialasche hoped.