Malnutrition of vitamin A (retinol) and vitamin E (α-tocopherol, α-TOH) was observed in type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) or dementia patients. However, how these vitamins affect cognitive function of subjects with T2DM was seldom reported. The objective of this study was to determine the association of circulating retinol and α-TOH with cognition in aging subjects with T2DM.
A total of 448 T2DM subjects and 448 age, gender and education matched control subjects (aged 55-75 years) were included in the study. Demographic characters of the participants were collected. Food frequency questionnaire (FFQ) method was used to collect dietary intake information. To assess the status of cognition, the MoCA test was used. Circulating retinol and α-TOH levels were compared between T2DM and non-T2DM subjects. Correlation of circulating retinol and α-TOH levels with cognitive function was analyzed in T2DM subjects. The effect of serum retinol and α-TOH levels on the risk of MCI in T2DM patients was explored.
We found that T2DM-MCI subjects demonstrate lower serum retinol level than T2DM-nonMCI subjects (P < 0.01). Serum retinol level was positively correlated to cognitive function in T2DM subject (P < 0.05). T2DM subjects with higher circulating retinol level demonstrate higher cognitive scores in visual and executive, attention, language, memory and delayed recall domains (P < 0.05).
Diminished circulating retinol predicts an increased risk of MCI in T2DM patients. Our findings provide suggestions that optimal retinol nutritional status might benefit cognition and decrease the risk of MCI in aging subjects with T2DM.