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Published on: March 4, 2012
by Tim Moore for Vitamins Stuff & Alzheimers:
The Archives of Neurology, a monthly professional medical journal published by the American Medical Association, published a study done by researchers at Johns Hopkins University in Maryland, suggesting that vitamins E and C, when taken together, could potentially protect the brain against aging.
The research team studied information on over 4,700 people over the age of 65. More than three hundred of the subjects showed signs of Alzheimer’s. In the study, researchers found that people taking both vitamins E and C were 78% less likely to show signs of brain deterioration than those not taking the combination.
The study did not notice an advantage with those taking only one of the vitamins, or those taking a multivitamin by itself. Instead, the two micronutrients seemed to exhibit a synergistic effect.
Antioxidant vitamins, such as vitamins E and C, block the effects of oxygen molecules and are known as free radical scavengers. Free radicals, which damage cells and which may also play a part in causing cancer and heart disease, are essentially “loose electrons” which have been knocked out of their orbits around the nucleus of an atom and, as a result, are left to go “careening about” as they attempt to reestablish a new orbit.
The behavior of free radicals is thought to cause cellular damage and lesions linked to free radicals have been found in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients.
The researchers were unsure as to why these two vitamins needed to be taken together, yet proposed that routine consumption of both vitamins could possibly reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s. One theory suggests that because vitamin C is water-soluble and vitamin E is lipid-soluble, that vitamin C may recharge the antioxidant qualities of vitamin E. If so, this would enhance the ability of vitamin E to reduce free radicals and lessen the effect of oxidative stress.
More studies are needed to determine whether the subjects taking the vitamins may live healthier lifestyles in general, which could be the true cause of their lack of Alzheimer’s symptoms.
Vitamins E and C can be found naturally in many food sources. Vitamin C can be found in citrus fruits and juices, cantaloupe, strawberries, tomatoes, green peppers, broccoli, turnip greens and many other leafy greens. Most all fruits and vegetables contain some amount of vitamin C Vitamin E can be found in nuts, green leafy vegetables, fortified cereals and vegetable oils.
The Alzheimer’s Society says that it may be challenging to find other subjects that are taking such a high amount of vitamins E and C. They do desire more tests to determine whether the current evidence for vitamins C and E can be helpful.
More trials are underway.
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