Vitamin C supplementation, APOE4 genotype and cognitive functioning in a rural-dwelling cohort

K. Chaudhari, N. Sumien, L. Johnson, D. D’Agostino, M. Edwards, R. J. Paxton, J. R. Hall, Sid E. O’Bryant

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Objective: Apolipoprotein E4 (APOE4) genotype has been implicated as a moderating factor in cognitive function studies. Although prior studies have suggested that vitamin C is associated with better cognitive function in elders, link between the two has been mixed. Limited data exist as to whether the APOE4 genotype influences these associations. Therefore, this study sought to determine whether the association between vitamin C and cognition in a rural community dwelling cohort differs by the APOE4 genotype. Design and Participants: Data were analyzed on 582 participants (n=183 men; n=399 women) from a rural community-based cohort. Cognition was assessed using the Repeatable Battery for the Assessment of Neuropsychological Status and The Executive Interview. APOE genotyping was ascertained by standard methods. The relation between vitamin C supplementation and cognition were analyzed first with ANOVA and then ANCOVA with age, gender, education as covariates. Analyses were initially run in the full sample and then split by APOE4 presence (yes/no). Results: Overall, Vitamin C supplementation was associated with significantly better immediate memory (p=0.04), visuospatial skills (p=0.002), language (p=0.01), and global cognitive functioning (p=0.006). Among APOE4 non-carriers, vitamin C supplementation was positively associated with immediate memory (F[1,392] =6.7, p=0.01), visuospatial skills (F[1,391]=10.6, p=0.001), language (F[1,392]=13.0, p<0.001), attention (F[1,386]=7.9, p=0.005, and global cognition (F[1,382]=11.0, p=0.001. However, there was no significant link between vitamin C supplementation and cognition among APOE4 carriers. Conclusion: Vitamin C supplementation was found to be positively associated with cognition among this rural-dwelling community-based sample; however, the associations appeared to differ by APOE4 status. These data may suggest that targeted genotype-specific cognitive enhancement studies are needed to clarify the potential benefits of vitamin C supplementation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)841-844
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Nutrition, Health and Aging
Issue number8
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2016


  • APOE
  • aging
  • cognition
  • rural cohort
  • vitamin C


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