Cognitive Decline and Vitamins: As Simple as C and E

Underwriting for older lives remains a challenge and cognitive decline is the hardship most often seen among our aging population and client base. Asking the right questions and looking at emerging data continue to be underwriting cornerstones.

Researchers continue to study whether alternative therapies may help stave off the earliest manifestations of dementia that often present as mild cognitive impairment (MCI).1, 2 Over-the-counter vitamin supplements remain a source of interest in this area as there is a relatively poor effect of drugs used in Alzheimer’s Disease in treating MCI.

One group of Quebec-based researchers looked into the potential benefits of vitamins C and E. Observing 5,269 subjects at regular intervals to evaluate for the onset of dementia, the results are noteworthy. Compared to the group not taking the vitamins, the odds of developing all-cause dementia was reduced by 38%. While this is interesting and encouraging, it raises questions such as whether this group of vitamin-takers may already be inclined to salubrious activities, perhaps skewing the findings somewhat. Herbs and supplements, including ginkgo biloba and even transdermal nicotine (the patch) are also being studied as possible treatments for MCI.

To help ensure your clients get the best underwriting results, learn more about mild cognitive impairment so that you can ask the right questions. Take PPI’s MCI education module on Know the Risk and view the rating guide to see how underwriters may asses the risk.

1. Luta Luse Basambombo, MSc, et al, “Use of Vitamin E and C Supplements for the Prevention of Cognitive Decline,” Annals of Pharmacotherapy 51, issue 2 (2016): 118-124. http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/1060028016673072.

2. Eric M. McDade, DO et al, “Mild Cognitive Impairment: Prognosis and treatment.” UpToDatehttps://www.uptodate.com/contents/mild-cognitive-impairment-prognosis-and-treatment.

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