Taking vitamin C and E supplements together significantly lowers the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, according to a new study published in the Archives of Neurology.*
The research began in 1995, when approximately 5,000 elderly residents of Cache County, Utah, were assessed for dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. They were also questioned about their use of vitamin supplements. The researchers again assessed the participants’ mental status an average of three years later.
At the beginning of the study, those participants who had already been taking vitamin C and E supplements in combination had a 78% lower risk of having Alzheimer’s disease than those who were not taking the supplements. This benefit seemed to persist, as the risk factor for Alzheimer’s was 64% lower for supplement users at the end of the study period.
“The results of our study suggest that taking vitamins E and C in supplement doses (greater than 400 IU of E and 500 mg of C) may reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease,” lead researcher Dr. Peter Zandi of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health told Life Extension.
The researchers believe that the vitamins’ antioxidant properties account for their protective powers against the oxidative stress-related damage that leads to Alzheimer’s disease. Interestingly, no evidence of a protective effect was seen with the use of vitamin C or vitamin E supplements alone, with multivitamins alone, or with vitamin B-complex supplements. The researchers suspect that the use of vitamins C and E probably offers protection against Alzheimer’s disease only when taken together in the higher doses available in individual supplements.
—Marc Ellman, MD