Elderly people with high serum vitamin E levels are less likely to suffer from memory disorders than their peers with lower levels, researchers have found.
Various forms of vitamin E seem to play a role in memory processes, researchers said.
The study was carried out by University of Eastern Finland, the Finnish National Institute for Health and Welfare, Karolinska Institutet, and the University of Perugia. Studies investigating the link between vitamin E and memory disorders have usually focused on a single form of vitamin E, namely alpha-tocopherol, which is also used in vitamin E supplements.
However, vitamin E exists in eight different natural forms, tocopherols and tocotrienols, all of which have antioxidant properties.
The new study comprised a sample of 140 over 65-year-old Finnish persons with no memory impairment at the onset of the study.
During the eight-year follow-up, it was discovered that higher total serum levels of vitamin E, and higher levels of gamma-tocopherol, beta-tocotrienol and total tocotrienols in particular, seemed to protect against memory disorders.
According to the researchers, the results show that the entire vitamin E family plays a role in memory processes. Measuring the levels of vitamin E from serum is the most reliable way to determine whether they are sufficiently high, they said.
The study was published in the journal Experimental erontology.