A new study from Finland reports that elderly people with high serum vitamin E levels are less likely to suffer from memory disorders, according to the ScienceDaily article “Several Forms of Vitamin E Protect Against Memory Disorders.”
What’s interesting about this report is that the entire vitamin E family may be needed to lower your risk of memory loss. You only get the alpha-tocopherol version of vitamin E in supplements. Vitamin E, however, comes in 8 natural forms. The article states: “According to the researchers, the results show that the entire vitamin E family plays a role in memory processes.”
This is another indication that to get the full benefits from vitamins, natural forms from food are best.
What are the best food sources of vitamin E?
Both the National Institutes of Health and The George Mateljan Foundation agree that sunflower seeds, almonds, spinach and peanuts are excellent sources of natural vitamin E. Some additional sources are Swiss chard, avocado, wheat germ, sunflower oil, safflower oil and hazelnuts.
It’s true sunflower and safflower oils are high in natural vitamin E. However, they are also low in natural vitamin K. As I discussed in the post “Vitamin K2 May Be the Best Medicine to Prevent Calcium Buildup in Your Arteries,” vitamin K is important to prevent calcium plague buildup in our bodies.
I wouldn’t be surprised to find out one day that vitamin K is also a necessary nutrient for brain health. Two oils that have healthy amounts of both vitamins E and K are extra virgin olive oil and canola oil. Olive oil is used extensively by healthy populations in the Mediterranean, and canola oil is used by healthy populations in Asia.
A second study shows that vitamin E helps slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease in patients with mild to moderate symptoms. This study, however, used large amounts of vitamin E supplements in concentration impossible to obtain from food. This is the one situation where supplements may be better.
For memory health, however, the entire natural form of the vitamin E family appears to be best. So to maintain your memory health, eat healthy amounts of sunflower seeds, spinach, Swiss chard, almonds and peanuts with extra virgin olive oil or canola oil.
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