Higher Blood Levels of Antioxidants May Help to Reduce Risk of Dementia

According to a study, individuals having higher blood levels of antioxidants could be less likely to get dementia. Antioxidants can help in protecting the brain from oxidative stress that can lead to the damage of cells.1✅ JOURNAL REFERENCE
DOI: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000200289

The study discovered that individuals having the highest blood levels of the antioxidants beta-cryptoxanthin, zeaxanthin and lutein were less likely to have dementia many years later compared to individuals with lower antioxidant levels. Zeaxanthin and lutein can be found in green, leafy veggies which include peas, broccoli, spinach, and kale. Beta-cryptoxanthin can be found in fruits which include persimmons, tangerines, papaya, and oranges.

The study involved 7,283 individuals who were a minimum of 45 years old when the study started. They had an interview, a physical exam, and antioxidant level blood tests when the study started. They were then followed for 16 years on average to see who went on to develop dementia.

The individuals were split into 3 groups according to their antioxidant blood levels. Individuals having the highest levels of zeaxanthin and lutein were less likely to develop dementia compared to individuals with lower levels.

Each standard deviation increase of about 15.4 micrograms per deciliter in lutein and zeaxanthin levels was linked to a 7% reduced dementia risk. Each standard deviation increase of about 8.6 micrograms per deciliter in beta-cryptoxanthin levels was linked to a 14% reduced dementia risk.

The effect of these antioxidants on dementia risk was somewhat reduced when the researchers considered other factors which included physical activity, income, and education, so those factors may help explain the connection between levels of antioxidants and dementia.

A study limitation is that levels of antioxidants were based on one blood level measurement and might not reflect levels over an individual's lifetime.

What Are Antioxidants Infographic

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About the author

Adrian has been writing on health and fitness for 18 years. He is the founder of several health related websites and the current owner of AHealthBlog, which regularly publishes evidence based health and fitness news and information. When he isn’t writing, you can find him mountain biking or surfing.

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