Beta-carotene protects older adults from cognitive decline

The antioxidant beta-carotene protected genetically susceptible older adults from mental (cognitive) decline, according to a new study from the School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles. Scientists followed 455 high-functioning older adults, 106 of whom had a gene (apolipoprotein E4 or APOE 4), which is unusually frequent in those who develop Alzheimer’s disease late in life. Researchers noted that 249 participants experienced mental decline and that the decline was more likely and more severe in those who had the APOE 4 gene. However, among individuals with the APOE 4 gene, those who had the highest levels of beta-carotene were 89% less likely to experience cognitive decline than were those with the lowest levels of beta-carotene.

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