Millions of people suffer from Alzheimer’s disease, the common form of dementia. Typical signs include impaired ability to make decisions, think, and remember.
There is an urgent need for treatments to prevent or improve the condition. Nevertheless, drug trials have resulted in low rates of success.
A recent study published in the Neurology journal suggested a positive effect of antioxidants in lowering the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.
In this project, scientists at the National Institute on Aging in Bethesda, Maryland, analyzed data from approximately 7,000 participants from 45 to 90 years old in a period of 16 to 17 years.
After measuring the antioxidant levels in the blood, including carotenoids, vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin E, researchers inspected the link between these components and the risks of dementia.
According to the theory, antioxidants would prevent oxidative stress from causing damage to brain cells.
The results indicate that higher carotenoid levels, including zeaxanthin and lutein, in leafy veggies were linked to a lower risk of dementia.
Higher levels of a carotenoid called β-Cryptoxanthin, which can be found in papaya, apples, and berries, were linked to a lower risk as well.
These promising results are in accordance with those in other research, which suggests that a diet that is high in antioxidants would reduce the overall risk of dementia when people age.
A downside of this project is that it was an observational study that only measured levels of antioxidants at a single point in time.
In addition, other factors would diminish the effects of several antioxidants. These include education levels and socioeconomic status. To improve the results, it is better to implement randomized controlled trials. This means we should assign participants randomly to an intervention versus control or comparison.
Another important thing is that more research should be done to find out the levels of antioxidants to deliver these beneficial effects.
Based on scientific evidence in the future, it is likely that taking several antioxidants from supplements, drinks, or food might help in healthy aging, prevent brain damage, and lower dementia risk.
Scientists highlighted the importance of a healthy lifestyle, including physical activities and a nutritious diet. There is no single food that can cure or treat dementia. However, many studies have suggested that we can prevent the disease by following a diet that is high in fruits and veggies and low in sugar and saturated fats.