Food and Behaviour Research

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Relation of the tocopherol forms to incident Alzheimer disease and to cognitive change.

Morris, M.C., Evans, D.A., Tangney, C.C., Bienias, J.L., Wilson, R.S., Aggarwal, N.T., Scherr, P.A. (2005) Am J Clin Nutr.  81(2) 508-14. 

Web URL: Licensed users of Am J Clin Nutr can view full text of this article here

Abstract:

BACKGROUND: High intake of vitamin E from food (tocopherol), but not from supplements (which usually contain alpha-tocopherol), is inversely associated with Alzheimer disease.

OBJECTIVE: We examined whether food intakes of vitamin E, alpha-tocopherol equivalents (a measure of the relative biologic activity of tocopherols and tocotrienols), or individual tocopherols would protect against incident Alzheimer disease and cognitive decline over 6 y in participants of the Chicago Health and Aging Project.

DESIGN: The 1993-2002 study of community residents aged >or=65 y included the administration of 4 cognitive tests and clinical evaluations for Alzheimer disease. Dietary assessment was by food-frequency questionnaire.

RESULTS: Tocopherol intake from food was related to the 4-y incidence of Alzheimer disease determined by logistic regression in 1041 participants who were clinically evaluated (n=162 incident cases) and to change in a global cognitive score determined by mixed models in 3718 participants. Higher intakes of vitamin E (relative risk: 0.74 per 5 mg/d increase; 95% CI: 0.62, 0.88) and alpha-tocopherol equivalents (relative risk: 0.56 per 5 mg/d increase; 95% CI: 0.32, 0.98) were associated with a reduced incidence of Alzheimer disease in separate multiple-adjusted models that included intakes of saturated and trans fats and docosahexaenoic acid. alpha- and gamma-Tocopherol had independent associations. In separate mixed models, a slower rate of cognitive decline was associated with intakes of vitamin E, alpha-tocopherol equivalents, and alpha- and gamma-tocopherols.

CONCLUSION: The results suggest that various tocopherol forms rather than alpha- tocopherol alone may be important in the vitamin E protective association with Alzheimer disease.