If you're not supplementing, it's a difficult vitamin to get from our diet; it's found in olive oil, and in almonds, sunflower seeds and avocados. As a result, it's not surprising that around 90 per cent of us have a serious vitamin E deficiency.
But without it, the brain is deprived of its source for maintaining neural health. People depleted of vitamin E also have lowers levels of DHA-PC, part of the cellular membrane in every brain cell, which is a marker of Alzheimer's disease, say researchers from Oregon State University.
People who eat a diet that's deficient in vitamin E for most of their lives will have low levels of a polyunsaturated fat (PUFA) called DHA. Levels could be 30 per cent lower than they need to be for maintaining brain health, they estimate.
The vitamin is also essential for creating compounds called lyso PLs, nutrients that carry DHA to the brain.
(Source: Journal of Lipid Research, 2015; jlr.M058941)