Vitamin E has long been touted to protect against age-related brain degeneration, though the reasons have not been fully understood. Now scientists have a window into how vitamin E may work to prevent Alzheimer’s disease.

In an animal study, researchers found that vitamin E regulates certain genes, including a number linked to Alzheimer’s disease (Nutritional Neuroscience, 2005, vol. 8, no. 1). They conjecture that the vitamin may help prevent neurological diseases, such as Alzheimer’s, in humans. This is promising news for the families of an estimated 4.5 million Americans who suffer from Alzheimer’s, the most common form of dementia, but researchers are also quick to point out that vitamin E’s protective benefits have not yet been proven in humans.