Medicine Information

Natural Vitamin E Combined with Vitamin C for Treatment of Alzheimers Disease

Checklist of Treatments for Alzheimer's Disease

Part 2 of 8

2. Vitamin E combined with Vitamin C. Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that should be taken by nearly all people, not just those afflicted with Alzheimer's disease. Antioxidants help remove so-called "free radical" oxygen that is harmful to cells, especially nerve cells in the brain. It turns out that Vitamin E is more potent in the body when taken simultaneously with Vitamin C. These two vitamins have a synergistic effect.

For Alzheimer's treatment, I recommend a morning and evening dose of 500 mg of Vitamin C. Then Vitamin E, which is sold as an oil contained in softgels, should be taken as two 400 I.U. (international units) or possibly one large 1,000 I.U. softgel, once a day, either in the morning or the evening. We have large pill containers for the morning and regular size containers for the evening. As a result, I give my mother the Vitamin E - Vitamin C combination in the morning, but for years I previously gave her the combination at night and found the same effect.

Unfortunately, not all Vitamin E is the same. Natural Vitamin E is called d-alpha tocopherol. The synthetic form of Vitamin E is dl-alpha tocopherol. I asked several pharmacists if the natural and synthetic forms of Vitamin E were equally good antioxidants. Without exception, each of the pharmacists incorrectly informed me that the two were equivalent chemically, but that the synthetic form required a larger quantity to yield the 400 I.U. standard. Therefore, if a 400 I.U. natural Vitamin E was placed side-by-side with a synthetic Vitamin E softgel, the natural E softgel would be smaller than the synthetic E softgel.

However, it turns out all of these pharmacists were dead wrong on the body's ability to use synthetic Vitamin E as an antioxidant. The synthetic form of Vitamin E is an isomer of the natural molecule, but the body can readily detect the change. Whereas natural Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant, the synthetic form of Vitamin E may or may not have any antioxidant properties for any given patient. In fact, a physical chemist at Oak Ridge National Laboratory expressed it to me this way: "The synthetic form of Vitamin E hopefully will not cause harm, but it does little good in the body." The interested reader is encouraged to search on the Internet for web pages describing "synthetic Vitamin E" along with "natural Vitamin E" to find hundreds of web pages decrying the use and efficacy of synthetic Vitamin E.

Most synthetic Vitamin E softgels contain a water-insoluble oil that could conceivably clog arteries similar to very low density lipoproteins (VLDL). When the mainstream news media puts out medical alerts that Vitamin E can cause heart attacks, they are invariably reporting on findings using solely the synthetic form of Vitamin E.

Natural Vitamin E is a wonder drug and has numerous other properties that aid the cardiovascular system, e.g., it thins the blood and creates easier flow to capillaries. At a time when my mother was taking the anticoagulant drug Warfarin (marketed under brand name Coumadin), a board-certified cardiologist said she should stop taking Vitamin E, because it interfered in the Coumadin testing. I promptly responded under NO CIRCUMSTANCES would she stop taking Vitamin E, and we would simply reduce the dosage of Coumadin. If your doctor is not smart enough to realize that Vitamin E can easily be taken concurrent with anticoagulant therapy, then fire the doctor.

Caring for a patient with Alzheimer's disease requires intelligence. Anyone who would stop giving an Alzheimer's patient Vitamin E because of faulty reports on adverse effects in the media should not be entrusted to make decisions on behalf of the Alzheimer's patient. Everyone needs to understand once and for all that natural Vitamin E is truly an important scientific and medical discovery with very significant good effects on the human body. Never let the media deter your decision to give Alzheimer's patients 800 I.U. each day.

Why give the patient 800 I.U. and not 400 I.U. or 1200 I.U.? Most of the clinical trials testing the efficacy of Vitamin E for treatment of Alzheimer's disease have settled on 800 I.U. as the dosage. Also, that dosage has been studied in long term use by patients and has been found to be safe. Higher doses may cause side effects long term.

Most discount stores sell the cheap form of Vitamin E: the synthetic form that has dubious benefits and potential risks to human health. Any time a store offers a "buy one, get one free" sale on Vitamin E, that is usually a tipoff that the store is selling the poorer quality synthetic chemical, dl-alpha tocopherol.

I give my mother a "mixed tocopherol" blend of d-alpha, d-beta, d-gamma, and other tocopherols. This product is sold by specialty vitamin retailers. By ordering it in large quantities, I can obtain the good form of natural Vitamin E for a price only slightly higher than what the discount stores charge for the junk synthetic form.

Two 500 mg pills was selected as the dose of Vitamin C to help compensate for inadequate fruit and fruit juices in most Alzheimer's patients daily diets. Alzheimer's patients who daily consume fruit in abundance may only need one daily 500 mg tablet of Vitamin C.

Dr. Michael A. S. Guth, Ph.D., J.D., performs pharmaceutical economics research and outcomes research on drugs for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease, hyperlipidemia, hypertriglyceridemia, bone mineral density, and osteoporosis. The web site contains links to dozens of articles he has written as well as summaries of his work in progress.


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