Public Health Nutrition

Research Article

Dietary antioxidant intake and cognitive performance in middle-aged adults

James M Peacocka1, Aaron R Folsoma1 c1, David S Knopmana2, Thomas H Mosleya3, David C Goff Jra4 and Moyses Szkloa5

Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) Study investigators

a1 Division of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN 55454-1015, USA

a2 Department of Neurology, Medical School, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, USA

a3 Department of Medicine (Geriatrics), University of Mississippi Medical Center, Jackson, MS, USA

a4 Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC, USA

a5 Department of Epidemiology, the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, Baltimore, MD, USA


Objective To assess the cross-sectional association of dietary and supplemental antioxidant (carotenoids, vitamins C and E) intake with cognitive function in 12 187 individuals, aged 48–67 years, participating in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) Study.

Methods Dietary intake of antioxidant vitamins, as assessed by a food frequency questionnaire, and use of supplements were analysed in relation to the results of three cognitive tests, the delayed word recall test, the Wechsler adult intelligence scale, revised (WAIS-R) digit symbol subtest and the word fluency test.

Results After adjustment for covariates previously found to be associated with cognition in this sample, we found no consistent associations between dietary antioxidant vitamin intake or supplement use and any of the cognitive tests.

Conclusions This study suggests little, if any, association between antioxidant vitamin intake and better cognitive function in middle-aged adults.


c1 Corresponding author: Email