NEW YORK (CBS NEWS) – For years, doctors have touted an antioxidant-rich diet to help stave off memory loss and dementia. But a new study says that antioxidants may not do much for preventing Alzheimer’s after all.
An antioxidant cocktail of vitamin E, vitamin C and lipoic acid had no effect on reducing the physical signs and cognitive decline seen in Alzheimer’s disease, the study found. Antioxidants are found in apples, blueberries, cranberries, pomegranates, strawberries and other types of fruit.
Earlier research suggests a diet rich in antioxidants boosts memory and prevent age-related memory loss. They’re thought to work by protecting cells against free radicals, which are single molecules that latch onto a cell and cause damage. Antioxidants are also thought to have a protective benefit against cancer and heart disease.
The new study looked at 78 patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease who were divided into three groups, one of which received the antioxidant cocktail. The researchers took cerebrospinal fluid samples from the patients and saw no difference in the amount of tau proteins and amyloid plaques — brain markers of Alzheimer’s — between patients in any group. In fact, people taking antioxidant supplements showed a faster decline when tested on their cognitive abilities.
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