Can good old vitamin C protect against Alzheimer’s disease? It might, according to a new study that found higher levels of the vitamin to be associated with lower levels of a bio indicator for the progressive neurodegenerative disease.
Researchers measured the thickness of the inner two layers of the carotid artery, the intima and the media, to determine carotid intima media thickness (CIMT) to diagnose the extent of vascular disease. Physicians can test the CIMT to monitor for thickening of the arteries while patients still show no symptoms. Detecting thickening, or arteriosclerosis, early may help physicians and their patients develop a more aggressive approach to managing the risk factors and fending off heart disease and stroke. CIMT is also an indicator for Alzheimer’s disease, according to a release about the new research on foodconsumer.org.
The research, which was published in the Journal of Neural Transmission, was designed to determine which antioxidants were associated with the CIMT of older people with no or very mild cognitive impairment. Researchers analyzed subjects’ plasma, and measured the levels of vitamin A, C, E, uric acid and antioxidant enzymes superoxide dismutase and glutathione peroxidase. They found vitamins C and E were significantly lower in subjects with thicker CIMT.
The study’s authors concluded “vitamin C plasma levels appear to be selectively associated with the risk of increasing CIMT. An adequate vitamin C status might be particularly important for protection against Alzheimer’s disease and other clinical manifestations of vascular and cognitive aging.”
Another recent study suggests antioxidants’ power to defend against Alzheimer’s. That study suggested the antioxidants in walnuts may delay the onset, slow the progression or even prevent the disease.
More than 5 million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease, according to the CDC. By 2050, this number is projected to rise to 14 million.