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Beta Carotene may protect against loss of mental function

Dutch researchers looking at the effect of foods rich in beta carotene on memory impairment and mental function have found protective effects.

The researchers at the University of Rotterdam studied 5182 people aged 55 to 95 from 1990 to 1993. They found that those who took in less than 0.9 milligrams of beta carotene per day were almost twice as likely to have impaired memory, disorientation and problem solving ability as those who took in 2.1 milligrams of beta carotene.

Antioxidants such as beta carotene protect against the effects of oxygen free radicals and may protect brain cells from the damage and loss of function that occurs with age.

American Journal of Epidemiology 1996, 144