New Study says Antioxidants Might Not Offer Such Big Benefit After All

February 21, 2013

Antioxidants have been touted for their age defying benefits when it comes to brain and overall health, but not so fast, a new study suggests,  they might not offer such a big benefit, after all.  In this latest research, people who ate more antioxidants (in everything from berries to coffee and tea) did not lower their risk of stroke and dementia in old age.

That’s not to say there was no benefit.  The leader of the study says there was some advantage, but not as much as she once believed. “We’re seeing strong and clear benefits with specific antioxidants, but not overall,” says Elizabeth Devore, an epidemiologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital who led the new study, which was published online in the journal Neurology.

Devore conducted an earlier study among women which did find that eating lots of berries delayed cognitive decline among women, but now she believes other factors might be at play.  Berries have lots of chemicals called flavonoids, which researchers think probably have protective powers much like those of better-known antioxidants like beta-carotene, vitamin C and vitamin E.

Scientists have just started to really dig into the relationship between flavonoids and health, thanks to a big new USDA database on the still largely mysterious chemicals.

Click here to read more from NPR.