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Can Vitamin C and Beta-Carotene Lower Alzheimer's Risk

Posted Sep 14 2012 4:49pm
Vitamin C and beta-carotene might prevent the onset and development of Alzheimer's disease.

Alzheimer's Reading Room

Can Vitamin C and Beta-Carotene Lower Alzheimer's Risk
This study caught my attention.

Researchers from the University of Ulm have discovered that the serum-concentration of the antioxidants vitamin C and beta-carotene are significantly lower in patients with mild dementia than in persons without dementia.

I read this with great interest because every day Dotty and I ate foods that were rich in Vitamin C and beta-carotene.

Just about every day we split an orange and ate carrots for lunch. We also ate spinach, kale, various fruits and vegetables.

This finding might not help current Alzheimer's patients, but this finding might help those of us who are related to Alzheimer's patients ward off or delay the onset of Alzheimer's. Perhaps this also helped Dotty live a better quality of life.

Lately, I have gotten out of the habit of eating oranges and carrots for lunch. My schedule and routine are not as fixed as they were while Dotty was alive.

I'll get back into the lunch routine shortly.

You can read a description of the research below. Meanwhile it might be a good idea to start focusing on vitamin C and beta-carotene.

Can't hurt, might help.

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Vitamin C and beta-carotene may protect against dementia study on the effect of antioxidants in Alzheimer's disease

Forgetfulness, lack of orientation, cognitive decline are among the symptoms of Alzheimer's disease (AD). Now researchers from the University of Ulm, among them the Epidemiologist Professor Gabriele Nagel and the Neurologist Professor Christine von Arnim, have discovered that the serum-concentration of the antioxidants vitamin C and beta-carotene are significantly lower in patients with mild dementia than in control persons. It might thus be possible to influence the pathogenesis of AD by a person's diet or dietary antioxidants.

AD is a neurodegenerative disease: Alterations in the brain caused by amyloid-beta-plaques, degeneration of fibrillae and a loss of synapses are held responsible for the characteristic symptoms.

Oxidative stress, which constrains the exploitation of oxygen in the human body, is suspected to promote the development of AD. Whereas so called antioxidants might protect against neurodegeneration. In their study, the researchers have investigated whether the serum-levels of vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene as well as lycopene and coenzyme Q10 are significantly lower in the blood of AD-patients. "In order to possibly influence the onset and development of Alzheimer's disease, we need to be aware of potential risk factors," says Gabriele Nagel.

Participants were recruited from the cross-sectional study IMCA ActiFE (Activity and Function in the Elderly in Ulm) 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 the present study, scientists have compared 74 patients with mild dementia (average age 78.9 years) with a control group consisting of 158 healthy, gender-matched persons of the same age.

Results are quite interesting: The concentration of vitamin C and beta-carotene in the serum of AD-patients was significantly lower than in the blood of control subjects.

Whereas no such difference between the groups could be found for the other antioxidants (vitamin E, lycopene, coenzyme Q10).

Potential confounding factors such as education, civil status, BMI, consumption of alcohol and tobacco have been considered in the statistical analysis. Nevertheless, additional parameters such as the storage and preparation of food as well as stressors in the life of participants might have influenced the findings. Therefore, results need to be confirmed in prospective surveys.

"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," says Gabriele Nagel. Vitamin C can for example be found in citrus fruits; beta-carotene in carrots, spinach or apricots.


Original content Bob DeMarco, the Alzheimer's Reading Room
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