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ANTIOXIDANT SUPPLEMENTS IN ALZHEIMER’S DEMENTIA AND MILD COGNITIVE IMPAIRMENT: A SYSTEMATIC REVIEW

E.J. Pegg

J Aging Res Clin Practice 2017;6:1-8

Objective: Current treatments have only a modest effect on impairment in Alzheimer’s Dementia (AD) and there is no treatment currently licensed for Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI). Oxidative stress is postulated to play a role in the pathogenesis of AD and MCI and this provides a rationale for treatment with antioxidant supplements. The aim of this review is to evaluate the effect of antioxidant supplements in people with AD and MCI. Methods: A systematic review of published randomised controlled trials was carried out. 4 electronic databases were searched. Studies were included if they compared the use of a placebo with the following antioxidant supplements in people with AD or MCI: Vitamin e, vitamin c, selenium, alpha lipoic acid, phenols, zinc, curcumin, beta carotene, coenzyme Q10, melatonin. The primary outcome measure was cognitive impairment. Secondary outcome measures included functional impairment, behavioural disturbance and safety. Results: 10 trials were identified which met the inclusion criteria. Outcome data was not suitable for meta-analysis. 5 studies reported a small positive treatment effect on cognition and 1 reported a negative effect. 2 reported a positive treatment effect on functional ability and 1 on behaviour. There were no consistent adverse effects found overall however two studies raised concern of possible worsening of cognition in certain circumstances. Conclusions: The findings of this systematic review do not support the use of antioxidant supplements to slow cognitive, functional or behavioural deterioration in people with AD or MCI. However the majority of included studies had a high or unknown risk of bias. In the one study which had a low overall risk of bias, there was evidence that antioxidant supplements may have a positive effect on functional decline in AD. The overall risk of harm associated with short term antioxidant supplementation appears to be low however caution is warranted. Further studies evaluating the role of oxidative stress in the pathogenesis of AD are suggested.

CITATION:
E.J. Pegg (2016): Antioxidant supplements in Alzheimer’s dementia and mild cognitive impairment: A systematic review. The Journal of Aging Research and Clinical Practice (JARCP). http://dx.doi.org/10.14283/jarcp.2016.121

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