Researchers have found that deficiency of vitamin E may cause damage to brain cells, this eating diets rich in vitamin E can help you stay sharp.
Vitamin E deficiency may interrupt a supply line of specific nutrients and rob the brain of the "building blocks" it needs to maintain neuronal health, the findings showed.
"This research showed that vitamin E is needed to prevent a dramatic loss of a critically important molecule in the brain, and helps explain why vitamin E is needed for brain health," said Dr. Maret Traber, lead author of the study, professor at Oregon State University in the US.
Vitamin E in human diets is most often provided by dietary oils, such as olive oil. But many of the highest levels are in foods not routinely considered dietary staples - almonds, sunflower seeds or avocados.
The research showed that zebrafish fed a diet deficient in vitamin E throughout their life had about 30% lower levels of docosahexaenoic acid-containing phosphatidylcholines (DHA-PC), which is a part of the cellular membrane in every brain cell, or neuron.
Other recent studies have concluded that low levels of DHA-PC in the blood plasma of humans is a biomarker than can predict a higher risk of Alzheimer's disease.
"You cannot build a house without the necessary materials," Traber said. "In a sense, if vitamin E is inadequate, we are cutting by more than half the amount of materials with which we can build and maintain the brain," Traber added.
The year-old zebrafish used in this study, and the deficient levels of vitamin E they were given, are equivalent to humans eating a low vitamin E diet for a lifetime.
The findings were published in the Journal of Lipid Research