A recent study from China shows that the combination of vitamins C and E and beta-carotene can enhance cognitive function in the elderly.
Changes in memory commonly occur as we age. Severe deterioration of cognitive skills, though, can indicate dementia—the most common of which is Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s affects more than five million Americans and experts expect that number to rise to 14 million by 2050. At this point, no cure exists, so prevention is key.
Researchers followed 276 elderly participants who received treatment with vitamins C, E and different doses of beta-carotene, or vitamin E alone. Using standard cognition and dementia tests, they determined that the combination treatment improved cognitive function, particularly with higher doses of beta-carotene.
Blood tests also revealed that the nutrient blend markedly reduced amyloid-beta (which are common in Alzheimer’s patients) and raised estradiol, a form of estrogen that protects neurons and even exhibits anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties in the brain.
The researchers concluded, “Treatment with vitamin E, vitamin C, and beta-carotene results in promising improvements in cognitive function in the elderly.”
Li Y, et al. Exp Ther Med. 2015 Apr;9(4):1489-93.