NEW YORK — Antioxidants may be able to boost brain activity in people suffering from Parkinson’s, a new study finds.
Researchers found that people who take a combination of two common antioxidants, vitamin E and carotenoids, experienced increased cognitive function in comparison to a control group.
A total of 553 people with mild or moderate Parkinson’s were evaluated for their cognition in a trial published online April 22 in the journal Neurology.
Researchers also found that the antioxidant vitamin E improved memory and reduced symptoms of Parkinson’s.
Lead author Dr. Tessa Hochstadt, an associate professor of neurology at New York-Presbyterian Hospital-Cornell Medical Center, said the results of the study were similar to a study done in Denmark.
The Danish study, which was published in March, was based on a randomized, controlled trial of about 400 people with moderate to severe Parkinson’s and was designed to compare the effects of the antioxidant antioxidants to those of a placebo.
Researchers gave people two capsules of vitamin E. One was a capsule that contained two percent of the daily value of vitamin C, or 10 mg, and the other was a placebo capsule.
People took one capsule twice daily.
A study in the United Kingdom showed that people taking vitamin E had higher brain-derived neurotrophic factor, or BDNF, in comparison with a placebo group.
Researchers said the findings were similar in this study.
Hochstadt said people who had mild or mild-moderate Parkinson’s typically suffer from a mild to moderate disability that can make it difficult to work and concentrate.
She said the condition can affect mood, concentration and motivation, making it challenging to stay focused and to learn.
“The combination of vitamin-E and vitamin C may help alleviate some of these symptoms, particularly when people are in cognitive decline,” she said.
“But this combination is not as potent as a combination containing the carotene and other antioxidants.
If you want to have a combination that’s as effective as one containing the antioxidants, then you should do two capsules twice daily.”
People who take vitamin E also have higher levels of brain-made neurotrophic factors like BDNF and are more likely to have improved cognitive function, according to a recent study in Neurology, a journal of the American Academy of Neurology (AAN).
Researchers say vitamin E may also have anti-inflammatories and other benefits.
“Vitamin E is an antioxidant, which means it can bind to and prevent harmful free radicals,” said Dr. James S. Smith, a professor of neuroscience at NewYork-Presbytery, who was not involved in the study.
Smith said it’s important to understand that both vitamin E supplements and antioxidants can cause side effects, including oxidative stress and inflammation, in the body.
“There’s no such thing as a safe dose of antioxidants, and some people may benefit from taking antioxidants that are not as effective,” he said.
Dr. Daniela L. Saccio, a clinical associate professor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, who wasn’t involved in either study, said research in the past has suggested that people with high levels of inflammation may have a greater risk of developing Parkinson’s in later life.
“This study does not necessarily indicate that antioxidants are beneficial in people who have Parkinson’s,” she wrote in an email.
But she added that the study is a reminder that there are other ways to help people with the condition.
“We need to be mindful of the fact that the combination of antioxidants may help mitigate some of the symptoms of these people,” Saccia said.
“It’s not clear if taking antioxidants is the best way to combat Parkinson’s.”More: