Vitamin E may ease memory problems from lack of sleep – rat study

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

Vitamin E may ease memory problems from lack of sleep – rat study
Daily doses of vitamin E may improve memory associated with a lack of sleep, suggests new data from rats.

Sleep deprived rats given a daily dose of vitamin E displayed increased levels of antioxidant defenses, as well as an amelioration in the impairment in short- and long-term, according to Behavioural Brain Research​.

“The current study is unique in that in it is the first to examine the interactive effects of chronic sleep deprivation, and chronic administration of vitamin E (for 6 weeks),” ​said the researchers from the Jordan University of Science and Technology.

“Result of the current study show that administration of vitamin E did not affect memory functions in normal animals. However, it preserved memory during sleep-deprivation.”

There are eight forms of vitamin E: four tocopherols (alpha, beta, gamma, delta) and four tocotrienols (alpha, beta, gamma, delta). Alpha-tocopherol is the main source found in supplements and in the European diet, while gamma-tocopherol is the most common form in the American diet.

Study details

The Jordanian researchers deprived lab rats of sleep and administered 100mg per kg via oral gavage. The animals were then released into a maze and their spatial learning and memory assessed.

Results showed that sleep deprived animals showed a decline in short- and long-term memory, but vitamin E “prevented such effects”​.

Additionally, the vitamin E doses were associated with improvements in the activity of a number of antioxidant enzymes, which otherwise decreased during chronic sleep deprivation

“In conclusion, sleep deprivation induces memory impairment, and […] vitamin E prevented this impairment probably through its antioxidant action in the hippocampus.”

Source: Behavioural Brain Research
Volume 226, Issue 1, Pages 205-210, doi:10.1016/j.bbr.2011.09.017
“The neuroprotective effect of vitamin E on chronic sleep deprivation-induced memory impairment: The role of oxidative stress”
Authors: K.H. Alzoubi, O.F. Khabour, B.A. Rashid, I.M. Damaj, H.A. Salah

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