Kathryn Mullan, Chris R. Cardwell, Bernadette McGuinness, Jayne V. Woodside and Gareth J. McKay
Serum antioxidants may afford neuroprotection against Alzheimer’s disease (AD) via correction of the pro- oxidative imbalance but findings reported have been inconsistent. We compared the pooled mean difference in serum levels of ten dietary antioxidants between patients with AD and cognitively intact controls from 52 studies in meta-analyses using random-effects models. Patients with AD had significantly lower plasma levels of beta-carotene, beta-carotene, lycopene, lutein, vitamin A, C, and E, and uric acid. No significant difference was observed for plasma levels of beta-cryptoxanthin and zeaxanthin. Considerable heterogeneity was detected across studies. The lower serum levels of dietary antioxidants from the carotene and vitamin subclasses observed in individuals with AD suggest reduced systemic availability of these subclasses in this prevalent form of dementia. To our knowledge, these are the first meta-analyses to demonstrate lower serum lycopene and to evaluate beta-cryptoxanthin, lutein, and zeaxanthin levels in AD. In light of the significant heterogeneity detected across studies, caution should be exercised in the interpretation of the data and therapeutic intervention approaches considered through supplementation measures. Our data may better inform interventions to improve antioxidant status in a condition of major public health importance.