Some antioxidant supplements do not prevent dementia among older men, a new study has said.


The research, led by the University of Kentucky in Lexington, found that vitamin E and selenium, taken alone or jointly, did not prevent dementia symptoms in several men aged 60 and older.

Although previous dementia research suggested that antioxidants could help in preventing the condition, the new findings say otherwise.

The study involved 7,540 older men who were divided into 4 groups.


Men in one group were given 400 IU of vitamin E each day, another group got 200 μg of selenium while the third group received both supplements at these dosages. The fourth was the placebo group (the “control” group).

After taking the supplements for an average of five years, 325 of 7,338 men evaluated developed dementia.

3,786 of the candidates agreed to continue the trial for a further six years.


According to the researchers, there was no difference in dementia rates between all four groups.

“The supplemental use of vitamin E and selenium did not forestall dementia and [they] are not recommended as preventive agents,” the researchers said.

Clare Walton, research manager at the Alzheimer’s Society said, “Although studies in the lab suggest that antioxidants could protect brain cells from damage in neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s, there is a lack of evidence from studies in people to support this theory.

“This large study found no evidence that vitamin E or Selenium supplements can play a significant role in reducing the risk of dementia. Given the fact that the trial only looked at men and was terminated early, we cannot completely rule them out. But it is looking increasingly unlikely that these antioxidants will play a big role in our armoury against dementia.”


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