Antioxidants in your diet may not reduce risk of stroke or dementia

February 20, 2013

Contrary to other research, a new study found that the total level of antioxidants in people's diets is not related to their risk of developing stroke or dementia. The study is published in the February 20, 2013, online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology. Antioxidants such as lycopene, beta-carotene and vitamins C and E are found in many foods.

"These results are interesting because other studies have suggested that antioxidants may help protect against stroke and ," said study author Elizabeth E. Devore, ScD, of Harvard Medical School in Boston and Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam, Netherlands. "It's possible that individual antioxidants, or the main foods that contribute those antioxidants—rather than the total antioxidant level in the diet—contribute to the lower risk of dementia and stroke found in earlier studies."

The study involved 5,395 people age 55 and older who had no signs of dementia at the start of the study. Participants completed questionnaires about how often they ate 170 foods over the past year at the start of the study. Then the participants were followed for an average of nearly 14 years.

Participants were divided into three groups: low, moderate and high levels of antioxidants in the diet. About 600 people developed dementia during the study and about 600 people had a stroke. But researchers found that people with high levels of antioxidants were no more or less likely to develop than people with low levels of antioxidants.

Devore noted that about 90 percent of the difference in in the study was due to the amount of coffee and tea people drank. Coffee and tea contain high levels of nontraditional such as flavonoids.

"This differed from an Italian study that found the higher total antioxidant levels were associated with a lower risk of stroke, where the variation from coffee and tea was lower, and the contribution from , fruits and vegetables was higher," Devore said.

Explore further: Can eating tomatoes lower the risk of stroke?

Related Stories

Can eating tomatoes lower the risk of stroke?

October 8, 2012
Eating tomatoes and tomato-based foods is associated with a lower risk of stroke, according to new research published in the October 9, 2012, print issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology. ...

Vegetables, fruits, grains reduce stroke risk in women

December 1, 2011
Swedish women who ate an antioxidant-rich diet had fewer strokes regardless of whether they had a previous history of cardiovascular disease, in a study reported in Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association.

Diet high in total antioxidants associated with lower risk of myocardial infarction in women

September 21, 2012
Coronary heart disease is a major cause of death in women. A new study has found that a diet rich in antioxidants, mainly from fruits and vegetables, can significantly reduce the risk of myocardial infarction. The study is ...

Recommended for you

In witnessing the brain's 'aha!' moment, scientists shed light on biology of consciousness

July 27, 2017
Columbia scientists have identified the brain's 'aha!' moment—that flash in time when you suddenly become aware of information, such as knowing the answer to a difficult question. Today's findings in humans, combined with ...

Scientists block evolution's molecular nerve pruning in rodents

July 27, 2017
Researchers investigating why some people suffer from motor disabilities report they may have dialed back evolution's clock a few ticks by blocking molecular pruning of sophisticated brain-to-limb nerve connections in maturing ...

Social influences can override aggression in male mice, study shows

July 27, 2017
Stanford University School of Medicine investigators have identified a cluster of nerve cells in the male mouse's brain that, when activated, triggers territorial rage in a variety of situations. Activating the same cluster ...

Scientists become research subjects in after-hours brain-scanning project

July 27, 2017
A quest to analyze the unique features of individual human brains evolved into the so-called Midnight Scan Club, a group of scientists who had big ideas but almost no funding and little time to research the trillions of neural ...

Researchers reveal unusual chemistry of protein with role in neurodegenerative disorders

July 27, 2017
A common feature of neurodegenerative diseases is the formation of permanent tangles of insoluble proteins in cells. The beta-amyloid plaques found in people with Alzheimer's disease and the inclusion bodies in motor neurons ...

Mother's brain reward response to offspring reduced by substance addiction

July 27, 2017
Maternal addiction and its effects on children is a major public health problem, often leading to high rates of child abuse, neglect and foster care placement. In a study published today in the journal Human Brain Mapping, ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.