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Antioxidant Vitamins Boost Brain Power

Vitamins and other dietary supplements have been getting a lot of bad press recently, but a new study from France suggests that daily supplementation with a vitamin and mineral antioxidant formulation may be good for the brain. In this study, more than 4,000 French subjects between 45 and 60 years of age were randomized to receive either a daily nutritional supplement or a placebo. The supplement contained 120 mg of vitamin C, 6 mg of beta carotene, 30 mg of vitamin E, 100 micrograms of selenium and 20 mg of zinc. The subjects in the study took their daily pill for roughly eight years and were then tested six years after the study was completed.
The goal was to determine the long-term effects of antioxidant supplementation on cognitive function. The people who took the antioxidant vitamins and minerals scored better on episodic memory tests and verbal fluency. Verbal memory also improved but only if the subjects had low levels of vitamin C at the beginning of the study or if they were not smokers.
[American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, online July 20, 2011]

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies..
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