Do the answers to preserving the mind and memory lay in nutrients? A new study suggests that nutrients at the very least play a role in it. Researchers in Germany found that two antioxidants, vitamin C and beta-carotene, may protect against dementia.
Alzheimer’s disease is marked by memory deficit, lack of orientation, and steady cognitive decline. The new study found that levels of vitamin C and beta-carotene are significantly lower in patients with mild dementia. Thus, they figured, we could perhaps slow the onset of Alzheimer’s disease through diet or through supplements. They tested the theory on 74 patients and 158 healthy controls.
Oxidative stress is believed to promote the development of Alzheimer’s disease. This stress, which comes from the body’s oxygen process, leads to the creation of free radicals, which can then damage cells. Antioxidants fight against this, and may in this case protect against cognitive decline.
The participants were between 65 and 90 years of age. They underwent neuropsychological testing, answered lifestyle-related questions, and had their blood and body mass index examined. In this group, the study found that vitamin C and beta-carotene levels in the blood were far lower in the 74 Alzheimer’s disease patients. There was no such difference in three other antioxidants they were measuring: vitamin E; lycopene; and coenzyme Q10.
The researchers noted that food preparation and storage, as well as life stress, may have influenced the findings somewhat. So, as is usual, better and longer studies are needed to confirm the results.
If you are interested in boosting your intake of vitamin C, it is famously found highest in all citrus fruits, as well as strawberries. Beta-carotene, which your body turns into vitamin A, is found in a range of colorful produce, including carrots, sweet potatoes, carrots, most dark green leafy vegetables, broccoli, and cantaloupe.