Supplements don't affect mental powers of elderly

December 1, 2004 in Nutrition for Older Adults, Nutrition Topics in the News, Vitamins, Minerals, Supplements

Supplements don't affect mental powers of elderly

Supplementation with antioxidants, zinc or copper has neither a beneficial nor harmful effect on cognition in elderly people, a new study from the University of California, San Francisco indicates.

Free radical damage is thought to be involved in common forms of dementia. Several observational studies of non-demented older adults have suggested that high antioxidant dietary intake or the use of antioxidant supplements is associated with better cognitive performance.

The researchers examined the effects of daily antioxidant and/or mineral supplements on the mental abilities of elderly participants in the Age-Related Eye Disease Study.

The subjects were randomly assigned to take antioxidants (500 milligrams of vitamin C, 400 units of vitamin E, and 15 milligrams of beta carotene); or 80 milligrams of zinc and 2 milligrams of copper; or antioxidants plus zinc and copper; or a placebo pill. A year before entering the study, the participants' dietary intake was assessed using a standardized food questionnaire.

After an average of 6.7 years, a total of 2166 patients who completed study underwent a battery of tests to evaluate their cognitive powers. No significant differences were seen between any of the groups on any of the eight parts of the six tests administered.

The team concluded that the likelihood of developing mental impairment is not significantly affected by any of the supplements tested.

All research on this web site is the property of Leslie Beck Nutrition Consulting Inc. and is protected by copyright. Keep in mind that research on these matters continues daily and is subject to change. The information presented is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. It is intended to provide ongoing support of your healthy lifestyle practices.