Antioxidants may protect cognitive health: Exploring vitamin E and vitamin C

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Previous studies have suggested that antioxidants, substances that protect our bodies from harmful molecules called free radicals, may help reduce the risk of cognitive disorders like Alzheimer’s disease (AD).

However, it is unclear which specific antioxidants, such as vitamin E or vitamin C, are more effective in decreasing this risk.

Understanding Antioxidants

Antioxidants are important for our health because they help protect our cells from damage caused by free radicals.

Free radicals are unstable molecules that can harm our body’s cells, including those in our brains.

By consuming foods or supplements rich in antioxidants, we can support our body’s natural defense system.

The Objective of the Study

The goal of this study was to investigate how different patterns of antioxidant intake, specifically vitamin E and vitamin C, related to the risk of dementia and cognitive decline.

Methods Used in the Study

The researchers looked at many different studies that followed people over time to see if their antioxidant intake affected their cognitive health.

They focused on studies that reported antioxidant intakes from both diet and supplements.

They analyzed the data using statistical techniques to see if there was a relationship between antioxidant intake and the risk of cognitive disorders.

Findings of the Study

The researchers found 73 studies that met their criteria, involving more than 28,257 participants.

When looking specifically at Alzheimer’s disease (AD), they found that higher dietary intake of vitamin E alone was associated with a 25% reduced risk of AD.

When combining dietary and supplemental intake of vitamin E, the risk reduction was even greater at 30%.

Similarly, the combination of dietary and supplemental intake of vitamin C was associated with a 30% reduced risk of AD. These results suggest that both vitamins E and C may have protective effects against AD.

The Impact of Vitamin C Intake

The researchers also analyzed the relationship between vitamin C intake and the risk of AD.

They found that for every additional 20 milligrams of vitamin C consumed per day through diet and supplements, the risk of AD decreased by 2%. This suggests that higher vitamin C intake is associated with a lower risk of AD.

No Significant Associations for All-Cause Dementia and Cognitive Impairment:

While the study found positive associations between vitamin E and vitamin C intake and the risk of AD, there were no significant associations between antioxidant intake and all-cause dementia or cognitive impairment.


In summary, this study suggests that consuming higher amounts of antioxidants, specifically through the intake of vitamin E and vitamin C, may help reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

Including antioxidant-rich foods in our diet, such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds, can provide us with these important nutrients.

It’s important to remember that this study focused on a specific aspect of cognitive health and that maintaining a healthy and balanced diet is key to overall well-being.

The study was published in European Geriatric Medicine.

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