Vitamin E in neurologic disorders

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By K K Jain MD

This clinical article reviews the neurobiology of vitamin E, neurologic disorders considered to be due to vitamin E deficiency, and the role of vitamin E in the management of neurologic disorders. Vitamin E is a scavenger of free radicals; it plays a role in the control of brain prostaglandin synthesis, regulation of nucleic acid synthesis, and gene expression. Neurologic and muscle dysfunction due to vitamin E deficiency may result from lack of antioxidant protection in susceptible tissues. Vitamin E has been used therapeutically in a large number of neurologic disorders wherein oxidative stress is implicated in pathophysiology, such as in neurodegenerative disorders. Vitamin E exerts antioxidant effects in combination with other antioxidants, including carotene, vitamin C, and selenium.

Key Points

  • Deficiency of vitamin E can produce neurologic disorders.
  • Vitamin E has antioxidant and neuroprotective effects.
  • Vitamin E has been found to be beneficial in the management of some neurologic disorders not characterized by deficiency of vitamin E.