Because increased oxidation is an important feature of Alzheimer`s disease (AD) and low concentrations of antioxidant vitamins C and E have been observed in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of AD patients, supplementation with these antioxidants might delay the development of AD. Major targets for oxidation in brain are lipids and lipoproteins. We studied whether supplementation with antioxidative vitamins E and C can increase their concentrations not only in plasma but also in CSF, and as a consequence decrease the susceptibility of lipoproteins to in vitro oxidation.
Two groups, each consisting of 10 patients with AD, were for 1 month supplemented daily with either a combination of 400 IU vitamin E and 1000 mg vitamin C, or 400 IU vitamin E alone. We found that supplementation with vitamin E and C significantly increased the concentrations of both vitamins in plasma and CSF. Importantly, the abnormally low concentrations of vitamin C were returned to normal level following treatment. As a consequence, susceptibility of CSF and plasma lipoproteins to in vitro oxidation was significantly decreased. In contrast, the supplementation with vitamin E alone significantly increased its CSF and plasma concentrations, but was unable to decrease the lipoprotein oxidizability. These findings document a superiority of a combined vitamin E + C supplementation over a vitamin E supplementation alone in AD and provide a biochemical basis for its use.