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Can vitamin E antioxidant improve diabetic nerve damage?

Posted by Medivizor on Jun 14, 2020 in Diabetes mellitus |


In a nutshell

This study looked at whether tocotrienol-rich vitamin E (Tocovid; TVE) can improve nerve function for patients with type 2 diabetes (T2D). It found that patients with diabetes taking TVE had improved nerve function.

Some background

T2D is a disorder involving high levels of glucose (sugar) in the blood. High blood glucose can damage body tissues. When the nerves of the hands or feet become damaged, this is known as diabetic peripheral neuropathy (DPN). DPN can cause numbness and loss of sensation. When patients do not feel damage to their feet, this can lead to diabetic ulcers. DPN has a risk of serious complications including infection and amputation.

Controlling blood sugar levels can reduce the risk of DPN. However, additional treatments are needed. It is believed that inflammation plays an important role in DPN. Vitamin E is a natural antioxidant that reduces inflammation and plays multiple roles in the body. There are several chemical versions of vitamin E, one of which is tocotrienol. It is unclear whether supplements of tocotrienol-rich vitamin E (TVE) can improve nerve function in patients with T2D.

Methods & findings

This study included 80 patients with T2D. The patients were randomly assigned to either take TVE or inactive palm oil twice daily. The patients were followed for 8 weeks.

Nerve growth factor (NGF) is a protein signal which influences nerve health. After eight weeks of supplements, NGF levels were significantly higher for patients taking TVE (11.04 vs. 10.02 ng/mL).

A nerve conduction test was used to determine the speed at which electrical signals were carried through patients’ nerves. Three nerves were tested. The median sensory nerve is responsible for feeling in the hand. At the start of the study, the conduction speed of this nerve was similar for both groups. After the intervention, the conduction speed was significantly faster for the group taking TVE (46.29 vs. 43.44 m/s). The TRVE group also had a significant improvement in the nerves responsible for feeling in the foot (an increase of 1.60 m/s vs. a decrease of 0.60 m.s). The nerve responsible for the movement of the foot also had a significant improvement in speed for the TRVE group.

The bottom line

This study found that supplements of TVE improved nerve function in patients with T2D.

The fine print

This study was partially funded by ExcelVite, a Malaysian vitamin company that manufactures TVE.

Original Title :

The Effects of Tocotrienol-Rich Vitamin E (Tocovid) on Diabetic Neuropathy: A Phase II Randomized Controlled Trial.

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