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Beta carotene is a form of vitamin A found in some yellow and orange fruits and green vegetables. Researchers have found that people with Alzheimer’s and other dementias have low levels of beta-carotene (as well as other anti-oxidants) in their blood, and this led them to speculate that beta-carotene could be somehow linked to Alzheimer’s.
Results of studies of beta carotene to prevent memory loss have been mixed. A large study of Asian-American men showed no association between consumption of beta carotene in mid-life and the risk of dementia in later years. Another study showed taking beta carotene supplements for a year had no effect on men 65 and older, but long term supplementation (in this study, 18 years) was associated with better cognition.