Dietary antioxidants and long-term risk of dementia

Arch Neurol. 2010 Jul;67(7):819-25. doi: 10.1001/archneurol.2010.144.


Background: The Rotterdam Study previously found that higher dietary intakes of vitamins E and C related to lower risk of dementia and Alzheimer disease (AD) over 6 years of follow-up.

Objective: To study consumption of major dietary antioxidants relative to long-term risk of dementia.

Design: Population-based prospective cohort study.

Setting: The Rotterdam Study in the Netherlands.

Participants: A total of 5395 participants, 55 years and older, who were free of dementia and provided dietary information at study baseline.

Main outcome measures: Incidence of dementia and AD, based on internationally accepted criteria, relative to dietary intake of vitamin E, vitamin C, beta carotene, and flavonoids.

Results: During a mean follow-up period of 9.6 years, dementia developed in 465 participants, of whom 365 were diagnosed as having AD. In multivariate models adjusted for age, education, apolipoprotein E epsilon4 genotype, total energy intake, alcohol intake, smoking habits, body mass index, and supplement use, higher intake of vitamin E at study baseline was associated with lower long-term risk of dementia (P = .02 for trend). Compared with participants in the lowest tertile of vitamin E intake, those in the highest tertile were 25% less likely to develop dementia (hazard ratio, 0.75; 95% confidence interval, 0.59-0.95 with adjustment for potential confounders). Dietary intake levels of vitamin C, beta carotene, and flavonoids were not associated with dementia risk after multivariate adjustment (P > .99 for trend for vitamin C and beta carotene and P = .60 for trend for flavonoids). Results were similar when risk for AD was specifically assessed.

Conclusion: Higher intake of foods rich in vitamin E may modestly reduce long-term risk of dementia and AD.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antioxidants / administration & dosage*
  • Apolipoproteins E / genetics
  • Cohort Studies
  • Community Health Planning
  • Dementia / diagnosis
  • Dementia / epidemiology*
  • Dementia / genetics
  • Dementia / prevention & control*
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Female
  • Flavonoids / administration & dosage
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Netherlands
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Risk Factors
  • Vitamins / administration & dosage
  • beta Carotene / administration & dosage


  • Antioxidants
  • Apolipoproteins E
  • Flavonoids
  • Vitamins
  • beta Carotene