High doses of vitamin E in the treatment of disorders of the central nervous system in the aged

Govind T. Vatassery, Timothy Bauer, Maurice Dysken

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

77 Scopus citations


Oxidative stress is a putative factor in the pathogenesis of many human disorders of the central nervous system. Therefore, antioxidants such as vitamin E have become attractive as therapeutic agents in the treatment of several diseases. In addition, vitamin E seems to play a specific role in the nervous system. As a result, vitamin E has been used in pharmacologic doses in the treatment of disorders such as Parkinson disease. Alzheimer disease, and tardive dyskinesia. One investigation showed that the use of 2000 IU all- rac-α-tocopheryl acetate is beneficial in the treatment of Alzheimer disease. Similar doses of vitamin E, however, were not beneficial for delaying the progression of Parkinson disease. In other studies, dosages ≥400 IU vitamin E/d were found to be beneficial in the treatment of tardive dyskinesia, although this finding was not confirmed in a larger cooperative study conducted by the Veterans Administration. Even though the efficacy of vitamin E in the management of cardiovascular disease has been shown, the potential role of vitamin E in the treatment of cerebrovascular disease remains essentially unknown. The experience from 2 large clinical trials involving the oral intake of 2000 IU vitamin E/d suggests that vitamin E is relatively safe at this dosage for periods <2 y. However, the safety and efficacy of supplemental vitamin E over periods of many years in the prevention of neurologic diseases has not been adequately explored.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)793-801
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • Aged
  • Alzheimer disease
  • Antioxidants
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Central nervous system
  • Elderly
  • Megadose
  • Parkinson disease
  • Tardive dyskinesia
  • Therapeutic agent
  • Vitamin E
  • α-tocopherol


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