Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Vitamin C can help with dementia

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Medical News Today

The serum-concentration of the antioxidants beta-carotene and vitamin C are much lower in mild dementia patients then those who do not show signs of Alzheimer's Disease (AD), suggesting that these antioxidants may protect against dementia. 

This evidence contradicts a previous study, which stated that vitamin C does not reduce the risk of dementia or Alzheimer's

Epidemiologist Professor Gabriele Nagel and Neurologist Professor Christine von Arnim, from the University of Ulm, have said that it might be possible to influence the manner in which Alzheimer's develops. 

Alzheimer's is a neurodegenerative disease. Brain changes caused by amyloid-beta-plaques, deterioration of fibrillae and a reduction of synapses are the main causes for the distinctive symptoms. 

The development of AD may be, in part, from oxidative stress, which restricts the use of oxygen in the body. This could be compared to how antioxidant may protect against the development of neurodegeneration. 

Some foods which are extremely good sources of Vitamin C include:
    Vitamin C-rich fruits and vegetables, such as spinach, could help combat the devastating symptoms of dementia.
  • Spinach
  • Oranges and Clementines
  • Strawberries
  • Kiwi
  • Red and green hot chili peppers
  • Bell peppers
  • Fresh herbs
  • Guavas
  • Broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts
  • Papayas
During the study, the experts analyzed whether the serum-levels of beta-carotene, vitamin C, vitamin E, lycopene and coenzyme Q10 are lower in AD patients' blood. 

Nagel commented: "In order to possibly influence the onset and development of Alzheimer's disease, we need to be aware of potential risk factors.

All of the volunteers were drafted from the IMCA ActiFE (Activity and Function in the Elderly in Ulm) cross-sectional study, which was a population-based study that examined around 1,500 seniors between 65 and 90 years old. The participants were asked questions about their lifestyle habits, had their blood analyzed, and their body mass index (BMI) measured. 

The new study, which was published in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease (JAD), compared 74 patients with Alzheimer's Disease and 158 gender matched people without the condition. The individuals were 78.9 years old on average.

Vitamin C and beta-carotene levels in the serum of AD patients were much lower than in those of the healthy individuals. However, there was no contrast between the groups relating to other antioxidants, such as coenzyme Q10, lycopene, and vitamin E.

Certain factors may have contributed to the results and have been taken into consideration by the experts, including:
  • body mass index
  • alcohol consumption
  • tobacco use
  • education
  • civil status
They continued by saying that the way food is made and/or how it is stored may have contributed to the results, as well as things going on in a patient's personal life. They added that more research needs to be done by means of prospective surveys, in order to be sure of their findings. 

Gabriele Nagel concluded: 

"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."

Written by Christine Kearney 
Copyright: Medical News Today
Not to be reproduced without permission of Medical News Today 

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