We examined the association between serum concentrations of β-alanine, a metabolite of carnosine and anserine, and the risk of dementia in a general population of elderly Japanese persons. In 2007, 1,475 residents of Hisayama, Japan, aged 60-79 years and without dementia were divided into 4 groups according to quartiles of serum β-alanine concentrations (quartile 1, lowest; quartile 4, highest) and followed for a median of 5.3 years. During follow-up, 117 subjects developed all-cause dementia (Alzheimer in 77 cases and vascular dementia in 31). The risk of all-cause dementia decreased with increasing serum β-alanine levels after adjustment for potential confounding factors (quartile 2, hazard ratio (HR) = 0.73 (95% confidence interval (CI): 0.45, 1.18); quartile 3, HR = 0.50 (95% CI: 0.28, 0.89); quartile 4, HR = 0.50 (95% CI: 0.27, 0.92); P = 0.01 for trend). A similar inverse association was observed for Alzheimer disease (quartile 2, HR = 0.78 (95% CI: 0.44, 1.38); quartile 3, HR = 0.53 (95% CI: 0.26, 1.06); quartile 4, HR = 0.53 (95% CI: 0.25, 1.10); P = 0.04 for trend) but not for vascular dementia. We found that higher serum β-alanine levels were significantly associated with lower risks of all-cause dementia and Alzheimer disease. Because serum β-alanine levels reflect intakes of carnosine/anserine, higher intakes of carnosine/anserine might be beneficial for the prevention of dementia.
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