I and other researchers have known for quite a while that vitamin E is important for brain function. In fact, last year I wrote about a startling study that reported that a high dose of vitamin E is much more effective than one of big pharma’s “go-to” Alzheimer’s drugs for restoring cognitive function in people suffering from dementia (“Miracle vitamin outperforms drug for Alzheimer’s disease,” Jan. 23, 2014 Daily Dispatch).
Now, new research proves what I have suggested all along—when it comes to protecting our brains, big pharma has it all wrong. Which could explain not only why so-called Alzheimer’s drugs fail, but also why they can actually interfere with natural approaches that do work. Like vitamin E.
Why vitamin E is essential for our brains
In this new study, researchers looked at the effects of vitamin E in zebra fish. They found that the fish that didn’t get enough of the vitamin had about a one-third reduction in DHA, an omega-3 essential fatty acid. And these poor fish also had 60 percent less of a biochemical that’s needed to get DHA into the brain.1
Why is this so important? Well, the brain simply can’t function properly without DHA. Brain cells can actually die if they don’t have enough DHA. And to complicate matters, our brains aren’t able to make their own DHA—they get it from the liver. Which gets it from food—mainly fish—or supplements.
The researchers also discovered another very interesting way that vitamin E works in our brains. It appears the vitamin helps prevent a type of fat oxidation that is suspected to be one of the causes of dementia and other brain diseases.
These findings are so compelling that one of the researchers compared a lack of vitamin E in the brain to building a house without the proper materials. In essence, she said, if you don’t get enough vitamin E, you’re cutting out more than half of the materials necessary to build and maintain the brain.
So now, thanks to this new research on little zebra fish, we now know how vitamin E helps keep our brains healthy.
Which reminds me of an old saying in internal medicine about paying attention to what is obvious. “When you hear hoof beats, don’t go looking for zebras,” meaning you are more likely to find a horse.
Too bad big pharma and today’s medical super-specialists don’t seem to pay attention to this saying. Instead, they look for exotic theories and treatments, when the obvious, simple—and natural—solutions are staring them right in the face.
So, when it comes to vitamin E for dementia, “don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.” We already know which end of the horse is represented by the mainstream Alzheimer’s industry.
How much E do you really need?
In the study I mentioned in the first paragraph of this article, Alzheimer’s patients were given 2,000 IU of vitamin E a day. Mainstream medical mouthpieces were quick to point out their concerns with such a “high dose.” But of course, that dose is only high in comparison to the measly RDAs.
Study after study shows that for B vitamins, vitamin C, and vitamin D, you need much higher levels for optimal health, and to prevent and reverse chronic diseases, than the puny RDAs. In fact, the RDA for vitamin D was recently exposed by two independent teams of researchers to be 10 times too low. I am now recommending 10,000 IU of D per day based on all of the latest research.
So with that in mind, does 2,000 mg per day of vitamin E still sound high? And it’s also a good idea to eat two or more servings a week of DHA-rich fish like salmon, tuna, sardines, mackerel, or trout.
“Novel function of vitamin E in regulation of zebrafish (Danio rerio) brain lysophospholipids discovered using lipidomics.” J. Lipid Res. 2015 56:(6) 1182-1190.