12 January - 20 June 2016

Dietary antioxidants may not reduce risk of stroke or dementia

6 March 13

Previous studies have indicated that antioxidant vitamins could reduce various chronic disease risks, however the majority of these studies have focused on single antioxidant supplements.  A study published in the journal Neurology has evaluated total antioxidant capacity of the diet and risk of dementia and stroke in the elderly.  Devore et al. used data from the Rotterdam Study, a population based cohort which investigates the epidemiology of chronic diseases in the elderly.  The team analysed data from 5395 participants aged 55 and older who were dementia free at baseline.  Of these, 5285 participants were also stroke free at baseline and 462 were dementia and stroke free at the time of the MRI brain scan 5 years into the study. The scientists analysed dietary ferric-reducing antioxidant power (FRAP) scores with respect to dementia and stroke risk.  All participants completed food frequency questionnaires, recording details of the consumption of 170 food items.  Using published tables the scientists calculated each food’s contribution to FRAP.  Participants were split into three groups: low, moderate and high levels of antioxidants in the diet. Diagnosis of dementia and stroke was carried out by using brief screening tests, additional neuropsychological testing, and evaluation by a neurologist.  During the 14 years of follow up about 600 people developed dementia and about 600 people had a stroke.  Devore et al. found that people with high levels of antioxidants were no more or less likely to develop brain disease than people with low levels of antioxidants.  Devore et al report that variation in dietary FRAP scores was explained by intakes of coffee (65%) and tea (21%), which are both found to contain flavonoids and polyphenols.  Oranges, red wine and chocolate each contributed an additional 1-2% to this variation.

RSSL’S Functional Ingredients Laboratory has a validated ORAC method which can be used to test the antioxidant capacity of foods.  For more information please contact Customer Services on Freephone 0800 243482 or email enquiries@rssl.com

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