Dementia

17 March 2008

Vitamins won't save memory

Taking vitamin C or E supplements, either individually or in combination, don't appear to lower the risk of dementia or Alzheimer's disease in older adults, study findings suggest.

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Taking vitamin C or E supplements, either individually or in combination, does not appear to lower the risk of dementia or Alzheimer's disease in older adults, study findings suggest.

"Our study confirms findings from other studies," lead investigator Dr Shelly L. Gray of the University of Washington, Seattle said. Vitamin E does not prevent memory problems or dementia.

Gray and colleagues followed 2 969 adults, 65 years of age or older, for an average of 5.5 years to determine if the use of vitamin E or C supplements altered the risk of dementia or Alzheimer's disease.

How the study was done
At study entry, nearly 33 and 38 percent, respectively, reported using vitamin E and C supplements, and 25 percent of the participants reported taking the vitamin supplements concurrently, the researchers reported the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

The participants were an average of 75 years old and had no cognitive impairments. The investigators conducted biennial assessments for dementia and Alzheimer's disease.

Over the course of the study, 405 participants developed dementia and of these, 289 developed Alzheimer's disease. As mentioned, the researchers observed no relationship between vitamin supplements and dementia risk.

The current evidence does not support the use of vitamin E or C supplements for the prevention of dementia in older adults, Gray and colleagues conclude.

"Older adults are still encouraged to eat a balanced diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables," Gray said. These foods provide natural sources of vitamins E and C and other substances that may have health benefits. – (ReutersHealth)

March 2008

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