2 Antioxidant Vitamins Reduce Vascular Dementia Risk By 88%

Cognitive performance is improved by taking these antioxidant vitamins regularly over the years.

Cognitive performance is improved by taking these antioxidant vitamins regularly over the years.

Antioxidants vitamin C and E may help to protect against some forms of dementia and improve cognitive performance over the lifespan, a study finds.

The research on over 3,000 Japanese-American men found that those taking vitamin C and E supplements regularly — at least once per week — were 88 percent less likely to have vascular dementia four years later.

Vascular dementia is the second most common from of dementia in the US, after Alzheimer’s disease.

The study also found that the men were 69 percent less likely to have other forms of dementia, apart from Alzheimer’s.

Dr Kamal Masaki, the study’s first author, said:

“We believe antioxidants like vitamin E and C may protect against vascular dementia by limiting the amount of brain damage that persists after a stroke.

The supplements may also play a role in providing protection against brain cell and membrane injury involved in many aging-related diseases, thus resulting in significantly higher scores on mental performance tests in later life.”

The Honolulu-based study also found that men taking the supplements had a 75 percent better chance of improved cognitive performance in later life.

However, the beneficial effect was not through the reduction in risk of stroke, Dr Masaki explained:

“We originally thought that the beneficial impact antioxidant vitamin supplements had against vascular dementia was the prevention of stroke.

However, to our surprise we found there was not a significant association between vitamin supplement use and clinically recognized stroke.”

Researchers did not find a protective effect of vitamin C and E supplementation on Alzheimer’s disease.

Dr Masaki said:

“It is critically important for patients to practice preventive efforts shown to lower stroke risk and to have broad ranging beneficial effects.

More effective strategies for prevention also must be found.

Therefore, a prevention trial of both vitamin E and C to further examine the potential protective effects on both vascular dementia and Alzheimer’s disease is needed.”

The study was published in the journal Neurology (Masaki et al., 2000).


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Author: Jeremy Dean

Psychologist, Jeremy Dean, PhD is the founder and author of PsyBlog. He holds a doctorate in psychology from University College London and two other advanced degrees in psychology. He has been writing about scientific research on PsyBlog since 2004. He is also the author of the book "Making Habits, Breaking Habits" (Da Capo, 2013) and several ebooks.