Food and Behaviour Research

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Serum levels of vitamin E forms and risk of cognitive impairment in a Finnish cohort of older adults

Mangialasche F, Solomon A, K√•reholt I, Hooshmand B, Cecchetti R, Fratiglioni L, Soininen H, Laatikainen T, Mecocci P, Kivipelto M. (2013) Exp Gerontol. 48(12): 1428-35. doi: 10.1016/j.exger.2013.09.006. Epub 2013 Oct 7. 

Web URL: View this and related abstracts via PubMed here

Abstract:

BACKGROUND:

Vitamin E includes eight natural antioxidant compounds (four tocopherols and four tocotrienols), but α-tocopherol has been the main focus of investigation in studies of cognitive impairment and Alzheimer's disease.

OBJECTIVE:

To investigate the association between serum levels of tocopherols and tocotrienols, markers of vitamin E oxidative/nitrosative damage (α-tocopherylquinone, 5-nitro-γ-tocopherol) and incidence of cognitive impairment in a population-based study.

DESIGN:

A sample of 140 non-cognitively impaired elderly subjects derived from the Cardiovascular Risk Factors, Aging, and Dementia (CAIDE) study was followed-up for 8years to detect cognitive impairment, defined as development of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) or Alzheimer's dementia. The association between baseline serum vitamin E and cognitive impairment was analyzed with multiple logistic regression after adjusting for several confounders.

RESULTS:

The risk of cognitive impairment was lower in subjects in the middle tertile of the γ-tocopherol/cholesterol ratio than in those in the lowest tertile: the multiadjusted odds ratio (OR) with 95% confidence interval (CI) was 0.27 (0.10-0.78). Higher incidence of cognitive impairment was found in the middle (OR (95% CI): 3.41 (1.29-9.06)) and highest (OR (95% CI): 2.89 (1.05-7.97)) tertiles of the 5-NO2-γ-tocopherol/γ-tocopherol ratio.

Analyses of absolute serum levels of vitamin E showed lower risk of cognitive impairment in subjects with higher levels of γ-tocopherol, β-tocotrienol, and total tocotrienols.

CONCLUSIONS:

Elevated levels of tocopherol and tocotrienol forms are associated with reduced risk of cognitive impairment in older adults. The association is modulated by concurrent cholesterol concentration.

Various vitamin E forms might play a role in cognitive impairment, and their evaluation can provide a more accurate measure of vitamin E status in humans.

FAB RESEARCH COMMENT:

For an accessible news summary of this research, see:

Several forms of Vitamin E protect against memory disorders

This research builds on earlier work by the same team, showing associations between both Mild Cognitive Impairment and Alzheimer's disease and blood measures of Vitamin E (again, assessing all forms, as well as markers of Vitamin E damage). See:

Mangialasche et al 2012 - Tocopherols and tocotrienols plasma levels are associated with cognitive impairment