Vitamin C keeps coming up trumps.
In the past year we've reported on parenteral Vitamin C improving chemotherapy results for ovarian cancer, Vitamin C as a protection against toxins and as a good supplement in type II diabetes. Here the latest is an explanation of its positive protective effect against cognitive impairment.
Measuring how well the arteries and veins function.
Studies have recently shown that an unhealthy vascular system can contribute to the development of cognitive impairment, in particular in Alzheimer's disease. The state of a person's vascular system is usually judged based on measurements of intima media thickness or IMT for short. IMT is the measurement of the inner thickness of the arteries - the thinner the measurement, the healthier the vascular system.
The carotid arteries in the neck supply blood to the head and brain. Thickening of these arteries is known as atherosclerosis, it affects the blood supply to the brain and is a common cause of stroke. Problems with the carotid arteries are also believed to play a role in multiple sclerosis.
Vitamin levels in old age
As the body ages, it become less efficient at absorbing vital nutrients. The nutrients that are most commonly thought to be depleted in old age are Vitamin C, Vitamin B12, Vitamin D, Folic Acid and calcium but other nutrients can be depleted in certain groups of older people. In 2003, a study of plasma antioxidant levels in patients with mild cognitive impairment showed that plasma levels of Vitamin C and uric acid, Vitamin A, Vitamin E and carotenoids including lutein, zeaxanthin, beta-cryptoxanthin, lycopene, alpha- and beta-carotene were much lower than in controls. The study suggests that mild cognitive impairment is an early stage of Alzheimer's and an increased intake of antioxidants could help lower the progression to dementia.
Vitamin C and IMT measurements.
A new study published in the Journal of Neural Transmission this month looked into the possibility that there may be a link between carotid IMT and a patient's vitamin levels. The team from the geriatric department of the University of Cologne recruited a group of volunteers who had no cognitive impairment or mild cognitive impairment and measured their carotid-IMT. Measurements were also taken of the volunteers' plasma levels of vitamins A, C, E and uric acid. The activity of the antioxidant enzymes superoxide dismutase (SOD) and glutathione peroxidase (GPx) were also measured. Results showed that people who had high carotid-IMT measurements (i.e. thickened arteries) has significantly lowered Vitamin C and E levels. After further analysis only the Vitamin C levels could be clearly associated with having a high carotid-IMT measurement and the team suggests that Vitamin C could be important for protecting against Alzheimer's disease and other forms of cognitive ageing.
Read more on Alzheimer's and Dementia
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