Natural Supplements Reduce Stroke Risk

Viatmin E mitigates stroke damage

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) When it comes to preventative medicine, natural supplements are the gold standard. They have the ability to work without undesirable side effects. Now scientists believe that vitamin E might help prevent stroke damage.

Ohio State University researchers have found that preventative vitamin E supplements may reduce stroke damage, particularly for high risk patients.

The findings suggest using a natural form of vitamin E would be most helpful for those at high risk of a major stroke, those who have suffered a mini stroke, or to aid temporary stoppage of blood flow in the brain.

"Talk to your doctor about vitamin E supplements."

Investigators conducted a 10-week study in dogs, discovering that a natural form of vitamin E called tocotrienol given to dogs that later had strokes was able to reduce overall brain damage, help sustain brain blood flow and prevent neural connection loss. Tocotrienol is common in southeast Asian diets, but is most available in the United States as a nutritional supplement.

About 24 hours after one of the dogs suffered a stroke during the study, researchers noticed that lesions indicating brain damage were about 80 percent smaller in dogs that received the vitamin E supplements versus those that did not. Imaging tests demonstrated that the dogs who received supplements had better blood flow in their brains at the stroke site.

Chandan Sen, professor and vice chair for research in Ohio State University's department of surgery and senior author of the study, said the pre-clinical large animal model allowed them a view that could not have been seen in a mouse.

Sen and her research team have spent the last decade determining how vitamin E could protect brain cells following a stroke in cell cultures and rodents. A clinical trial that would test effectiveness in humans is currently being planned.

As part of the study 20 dogs were assigned either to a group that received a placebo pill or one that received 200 milligrams of mixed tocotrienols twice a day for ten weeks. Scientists then induced stroke by blocking the middle cerebral artery in the brains of the dogs for one hour while the animals were under anesthesia.

Several imaging techniques were used to view effects of the stroke, including MRI imaging to show the differences in the volume of tissue damaged by the stroke.

The research is published online and will also be published in print publication Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow & Metabolism. The research was funded by the National Institutes of Health, Ohio State’s Center for Clinical and Translational Science, and Carotech Inc., the manufacturer of the supplements.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
July 7, 2011
Last Updated:
July 11, 2011