Antioxidants lower dementia risk (pseudo-news)

The note below is from a report by Sharon Reynolds, dated 2022-05-24, on the NIH website (I have paraphrased it, for brevity and clarity).

In “Antioxidants and DementiaMore Than Meets the Eye“, J. Neurology May 24, 2022, Babak Hooshmand and Miia Kivipelto report on blood levels of antioxidants in more than 7,000 people, aged 45 to 90, enrolled in the NHANES study of nutrition between 1988 and 1994. These people were followed for an average of 16 years to see who developed Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias.
The compounds analyzed included carotenoids, a large group of antioxidant pigments found in plants, and some vitamins.

The team found that people with generally higher blood levels of all kinds of carotenoids were less likely to develop dementia, but when lifestyle factors such as smoking and diet, and socioeconomic factors like education and income, the benefit of higher blood carotenoid levels disappeared.

The team then looked at individual carotenoids and found that lutein and zeaxanthin, found in green, leafy vegetables, and β-cryptoxanthin, which is found in some orange-colored fruits definitely reduced the risk of dementia, even when other health, lifestyle, and social factors were taken into account (the size of the effect was reduced to some extent by these adjustments).

In contrast, according to the authors, blood levels of the antioxidant vitamins A, C, and E weren’t individually associated with dementia risk. Also, their analyses suggested that high levels of vitamin A and E might actually counteract the effects of other antioxidants.
The findings suggest that the protective effects of some antioxidants may depend on the presence of other molecules in the body.

None of this is new; so what’s the point of mentioning it?
The point is that those of us who follow newsfeeds are inundated with “grabber headlines”, which make us think that some brand-new research has come up with amazing scientific facts, although the coverage by the “report” is incomplete at best and often, inaccurate.

For example, a look at the Wikipedia entry re. Antioxidants yields a quick list: vitamin C, glutathione, lipoic acid, uric acid, carotenes, vitamin E and CoQ10 (ubiquinone).
However your body’s best anti-oxidants are Vitamin D and Melatonin ** and although brightly coloured fruits and vegetables are extremely important in our diet, perhaps the best supplement is NAC (N Acetyl Cysteine), which generates glutathione.

** For melatonin, see “Antioxidant properties of melatonin–an emerging mystery”, by
C E Beyer  1 J D SteketeeD Saphier, in “Biochem Pharmacol”, 1998 Nov 15;56(10): 1265-72, doi: 10.1016/s0006-2952(98)00180-4.
For vitamin D, see “Vitamin D is a membrane antioxidant. Ability to inhibit iron-dependent lipid peroxidation in liposomes compared to cholesterol, ergosterol and tamoxifen and relevance to anticancer action”, by H Wiseman, in FEBS Lett, 1993 Jul 12;326(1-3):285-8, doi: 10.1016/0014-5793(93)81809-e.

So once again, what’s the reason for this blog entry?

The reason for this blog entry is to remind you to take newsfeed headlines with a grain of salt and always, double-check them on the web, for yourself.


Published by Dr. Gervais Harry

I am a Toronto-trained Urologist. I practiced in downtown Toronto, from 1977 to 1997, when I went to Saudi Arabia as chief of Urology at the Armed Forces (teaching) hospital in Tabuk. Returning to Toronto in Y2000, I switched to family practice. In 2007, began to prescribe Hormone Restoration Therapy and in 2012, I became a member of the American Academy of Antiaging Medicine [A4M]. I successfully wrote the A4M's written examination in December, 2013 and In May, 2016 I passed the oral examination, for accreditation as a BHRT consultant. In 2014 I began BHRT practice in Collingwood, Ontario and in January, 2017, joined the Stone Tree Naturopathic Clinic. Now I am 82 and have retired, but it seems wasteful to jettison my learning and experience: the medical establishment knows nothing of BHRT / Functonal medicine and I feel obliged to offer my knowledge in the interest of those who are willing to think outside the box. MY QUALIFICATIONS: MB, BS, (from UWI), 1964. LMCC 1969. FRCSC (Urology), 1974. ECFMG 1984. Florida license 1998 [inactive], ABAARM Certification [A4M], 2016. I am a Member of CSAMM [the Canadian Society for Aging and Metabolic Medicine], the OMA&CMA, SUSO, CUA, RCP&S/C. PRACTICE TO DATE: Consultation in Functional Medicine, including assessment of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, Andropause, Menopause, Teenage and Postpartum Depression/Panic Attacks, Thyroid Hormone malfunction, Infertility, Sexual Dysfunction and “the Undiagnosable”. ALL ARE WELCOME to read, comment or question!

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