Health & Diet

Antioxidant Supplements Don’t Prevent Dementia

By Wendy Haaf

Despite the hopes of some scientists, neither vitamin E nor selenium, alone or in combination, appears to prevent the development of dementia, according to US researchers. The findings appeared in the American Medical Association journal JAMA Neurology.

In an initial study that focused on whether these two antioxidant supplements lowered the incidence of prostate cancer (they weren’t found to have any effect), 7,540 men aged 60 or older were randomly assigned to one of four daily diet regimens that included vitamin E, selenium, both, or a placebo and tracked for an average of 5.4 years. Afterwards, 3,786 of the participants agreed to continue being followed for up to six additional years, during which researchers at the University of Kentucky tracked subjects’ incidence of dementia. Incidence rates were the same across all four groups (4.4%), indicating that the antioxidants had no significant effect.

Though men only were involved in the trials, the authors concluded that vitamin E and selenium “are not recommended as preventive agents” for dementia.

Photo: iStock/ayo888.