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Antioxidants Don't Prevent Dementia or Alzheimer's

Five-year study shows no decreased risk in older adults who used vitamins E and C

THURSDAY, Feb. 7 (HealthDay News) -- In older adults, the use of supplemental vitamins E and C, alone or in combination, does not protect against dementia or Alzheimer's disease, according to study findings published in the February issue of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Shelly L. Gray, of the University of Washington in Seattle, and colleagues conducted a prospective cohort study of 2,969 subjects aged 65 and older who were free of cognitive impairment at baseline. The researchers defined supplement users as anyone who reported using vitamins C, E or both for at least one week during the previous month.

Over a mean follow-up of 5.5 years, the investigators found that 405 subjects developed dementia, including 289 who developed Alzheimer's disease. Neither vitamin E use alone nor vitamin C use alone had an association with either dementia or Alzheimer's disease (adjusted hazard ratios 0.98 and 1.04, respectively, for vitamin E, and 0.90 and 0.95, respectively, for vitamin C). Nor did combined usage of vitamins E and C (HR, 0.93 and 1.00, respectively).

"A question that has not been addressed is whether antioxidant supplement use in midlife may prevent Alzheimer's disease and other dementias, but given the recent evidence that high-dose vitamin E may have adverse health consequences, it is unlikely that this line of research will be pursued," the authors write. "The current evidence does not support recommending use of antioxidant vitamin supplements for prevention of dementia in older adults."

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