Dietary antioxidants may influence the production and development of the disease
Dementia is a loss of brain function that occurs with certain diseases. Alzheimer’s disease is one form of dementia that gradually becomes worse over a period of time that affects memory, thinking and behavior.
For a long time it was believed vitamin E or C could reduce the risk of developing dementia or Alzheimer’s disease until a study which appeared in the Journal of American Geriatrics Society and revealed the vitamins did not reduce the risk from developing neurodegenerative disease. Now, researchers from the University of Ulm among them Epidemiologist Professor Gabriele Nagel and Neurologist Professor Christine von Arnim study’s findings challenge the previous research.
For this study participants were recruited from the cross-sectional study Activity and Function in the Elderly in Ulm (IMCA ActiFE) for which a representative population-based sample of about 1,500 senior citizens has been examined. The 65 to 90 years old seniors from Ulm and the surrounding area underwent neuropsychological testing and answered questions regarding their lifestyle. What is more, their blood has been examined and their body mass index (BMI) was calculated.
For this present study a total of 74 participants with moderate Alzheimer’s disease and 158 healthy participants for the control group took part in this study with an age range of 65 to 90 years old. This study examined whether serum-levels of vitamin C, E, beta-carotene, lycopene and coenzyme Q10 are significantly lower in the blood of AD patients.
All participants underwent neuropsychological testing, answered questions concerning their lifestyle, had blood examined and body mass index calculated.
The researchers had compared the AD patients to those participants in the control group.
The results had revealed the concentration of vitamin C and beta-carotene in the serum of AD patients was remarkably lower than in the blood compared to the control group. There was no difference found in either group for the other antioxidants vitamin E, lycopene and coenzyme Q10. Researchers had taken into account confounding factors such as education, BMI, alcohol and tobacco use.
Researchers noted that additional variables such as the storage and preparation of food as well as stressors in life of participants could have influenced the findings.
“Longitudinal studies with more participants are necessary to confirm the result that vitamin C and beta-carotene might prevent the onset and development of Alzheimer’s disease”, states Professor Nagel.
Vitamin C can for example be found in citrus fruits; beta-carotene in carrots, spinach or apricots.
This study is published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.
Estimates vary, but experts suggest that as many as 5.1 million Americans may have Alzheimer’s disease.