Fruit, Veggie Juices May Cut Alzheimer's Risk
Antioxidants May Be the Key, Say Researchers
June 20, 2005 -- New research highlights the possibility that antioxidants
in fruit and vegetable juices may lower the risk of Alzheimer's disease.
However, it doesn't prove that the juices can definitely help dodge
Alzheimer's, the most common form of mental decline in older adults. Scientists
do not yet have iron-clad recommendations to prevent Alzheimer's.
The finding was presented in Washington, at the Alzheimer's Association
International Conference on Prevention of Dementia. The researchers included
Amy Borenstein, PhD, MPH, an epidemiology professor at the University of South
"These findings suggest that something as simple as incorporating more
fruit and vegetable juices into our diet may have a significant impact on our
brain health," says Borenstein, in a news release.
The results came from the Kame Project, a long-term study of more than 1,800
Japanese- Americans in the Seattle area. When the study started in 1992-1994,
no participants had dementia. They were about 71 years old, on average.
At the beginning of the study, participants completed surveys about the
foods and drinks they typically consumed. Smoking, alcohol, daily calories,
physical activity, body mass index (BMI), vitamin supplements, and other health
problems (such as diabetes and cancer) were also noted.
Food Survey Results
The group was followed through 2001. During that time, 81 cases of probable
Alzheimer's disease were diagnosed in participants who had completed the food
The most frequent juice drinkers were the least likely to have developed
Alzheimer's. Those who reported drinking fruit or vegetable juices at least
three times per week were 73% less likely to have developed Alzheimer's as
those who drank juice less than once a week.
Those who drank juice once or twice a week also had a possible advantage,
but the effect wasn't strong enough to know for sure.
No associations were seen with intake of any vitamin supplement or dietary
intake of antioxidants, including vitamin E, vitamin C, or beta-carotene, say
"Certain polyphenols abundant in fruit and vegetable juices may play an
important role in delaying Alzheimer's onset," say Borenstein and
Polyphenols are antioxidants, naturally occurring chemicals found in many
plants. Antioxidants have attracted scientific attention for their possible
effects against cancer and heart disease.
Animal studies have found that a number of polyphenols from juices may
protect brain cells against oxidation more than vitamin E and C, say the
researchers. "These results may lead to a new avenue of inquiry in the
prevention of Alzheimer's disease," they write.
Borenstein and colleagues did not report any ties to commercial interests
(such as juice companies). No particular juices were singled out. Juices were
not directly tested for any health benefits. It's always possible that
self-reported food surveys may be inaccurate, or that participants' habits
changed over time.