A study found low levels of vitamin C may be associated with thickened arteries—a potential marker of vascular damage and a possible risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease. For the study, published in the Journal of Neural Transmission, researchers looked at the blood levels of antioxidants—specifically, vitamins A, C, E, as well as certain enzymes—in older people with no or mild cognitive impairment. Researchers then measured the thickness of the inner two layers (the intima and the media) of the participants’ carotid artery. Here is what they found:
Participants with a thicker carotid artery had lower vitamin C blood levels.
Participants with a thicker carotid artery also had lower vitamin E blood levels, but the relationship was not linear, as it was for vitamin C.
Therefore, the researchers concluded that, “An adequate vitamin C status might be particularly important for protection against Alzheimer’s disease and other clinical manifestations of vascular and cognitive aging.” Of course, more research is needed to determine whether low vitamin C levels cause arteries to thicken, or whether low levels are an effect of whatever factors lead to such thickening. Also, it should be noted that this study did not examine Alzheimer’s disease directly; more research would be needed to show a causal relationship between low vitamin C levels and Alzheimer’s disease.
Source: Journal of Neural Transmission