Dietary antioxidant intake and cognitive performance in middle-aged adults. The Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) Study investigators

Public Health Nutr. 2000 Sep;3(3):337-43. doi: 10.1017/s1368980000000380.


Objective: To assess the cross-sectional association of dietary and supplemental antioxidant (carotenoids, vitamins C and E) intake with cognitive function in 12 187 individuals, aged 48-67 years, participating in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) Study.

Methods: Dietary intake of antioxidant vitamins, as assessed by a food frequency questionnaire, and use of supplements were analysed in relation to the results of three cognitive tests, the delayed word recall test, the Wechsler adult intelligence scale, revised (WAIS-R) digit symbol subtest and the word fluency test.

Results: After adjustment for covariates previously found to be associated with cognition in this sample, we found no consistent associations between dietary antioxidant vitamin intake or supplement use and any of the cognitive tests.

Conclusions: This study suggests little, if any, association between antioxidant vitamin intake and better cognitive function in middle-aged adults.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Antioxidants / administration & dosage*
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology
  • Ascorbic Acid / administration & dosage
  • Ascorbic Acid / pharmacology
  • Carotenoids / administration & dosage
  • Carotenoids / pharmacology
  • Cognition / drug effects*
  • Cognition Disorders / prevention & control*
  • Cognition Disorders / therapy
  • Cohort Studies
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multicenter Studies as Topic
  • Prospective Studies
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Vitamin E / administration & dosage
  • Vitamin E / pharmacology


  • Antioxidants
  • Vitamin E
  • Carotenoids
  • Ascorbic Acid