A recent study is disproving the results of an earlier study in 2008 that found there was no link between Vitamin C and dementia. This recent study found that patients with mild dementia had much lower concentrations of Vitamin C than those who showed no signs of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.

The University of Ulm’s Professor Gabriel Nagel, Epidemiologist, and Professor Christine von Arnim, Neurologist found that it may be possible for medicine to influence how Alzheimer’s develops.

Alzheimer’s disease is a neurodegenerative disease, where the brain undergoes changes caused by three main causes: the deterioration of fibrillae, amyloid-beta-plaques, and a reduction of synapses. There is an irreversible loss of neurons that lead to the loss of intellectual abilities such as reasoning, and memory loss, which can become so severe it impedes functioning.

The development of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease may be linked, at least in part, from oxidative stress, which restricts the body’s use of oxygen. This can be compared to how antioxidants can protect against the deterioration of neurons; the development of neurodegneration. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant.

Fruits and vegetables that are an excellent source of Vitamin C include:

  • Spinach
  • Strawberries
  • Green and red hot chili peppers
  • Oranges
  • Clementines
  • Bell peppers
  • Kiwi
  • Guavas
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Papayas
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Fresh herbs

During the study, the serum-levels of vitamin E, vitamin C, lycopene, beta-carotene, and coenzyme Q10 were analyzed to determine if Alzheimer patients had lower levels in their 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 volunteers for the study were from Activity and Function in the Elderly in Ulm (IMCA ActiFE). This was a cross-sectional was a population-based study that involved around 1,500 seniors between the ages of 65 and 90. The participants were asked to answer questions about their lifestyle habits. They had their body mass index (BMI) measured, and their blood analyzed.

The new study, 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 average age of individuals was 78.9 years.

What the study found was that the Vitamin C and beta-carotene levels were much lower in Alzheimer’s patients than it was in the healthy individuals.

Certain factors may have contributed to the results, and as a result, the experts took these factors into consideration. They include:

  • Alcohol consumption
  • Body mass index
  • Education
  • Tobacco use
  • Civil status

The experts went on to say that how food is stored and prepared may contribute to the results, and so may other factors that are happening in the patient’s personal life. The experts believe more research needs to be conducted using prospective surveys, to be sure the findings and the conclusion reached remain valid.

Gabriele Nagel concluded: “Longitudinal studies with more participants are needed to confirm the results that vitamin C and beta-carotene might prevent the onset and development of Alzheimer’s disease.”

Future research is certain to take these findings and further expand on the role of Vitamin C and other antioxidants in the development of dementia and/or Alzheimer’s disease.

Sources:
Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease (JAD)