Researchers found that those who took a daily multivitamin improved their memory and slowed cognitive aging by two years.
The team from Mass General Brigham says their research “confirms consistent and statistically-significant benefits” of a daily multivitamin versus placebo for both memory and global cognition.
“The meta-analysis of three separate cognition studies provides strong and consistent evidence that taking a daily multivitamin, containing more than 20 essential micronutrients, helps prevent memory loss and slow down cognitive aging,” said first author Chirag Vyas, a founding member of the Mass General Brigham healthcare system.
The team crunched data from the COcoa Supplement and Multivitamin Outcomes Study (COSMOS)—a meta-analysis of 5,000 participants—and also gathered 573 participants and had them undergo detailed, in-person cognitive assessments over a two-year period.
Some of the participants took a daily multivitamin supplement during this time, while others took a placebo pill.
They found that those taking the multivitamin had better global cognition and episodic memory than those taking the placebo, with the multivitamin slowing cognitive aging by two years. No impact on executive function or executive attention was observed.
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“Cognitive decline is among the top health concerns for most older adults, and a daily supplement of multivitamins has the potential as an appealing and accessible approach to slow cognitive aging,” said Vyas.
Olivia Okereke, director of Geriatric Psychiatry and the study’s senior author, added: “These findings will garner attention among many older adults who are, understandably, very interested in ways to preserve brain health, as they provide evidence for the role of a daily multivitamin in supporting better cognitive aging.”
The study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition this week, also highlights that this is the third COSMOS experiment that praised daily multivitamins in this way—adding even more weight to the findings.
The Alzheimer’s Association estimates that many aging adults in the future will be at elevated risk of cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease unless interventions can help preserve cognitive function before deficits begin.
Dr. JoAnn Manson, who led the overall COSMOS trial, said the findings from these three separate placebo-controlled studies were very “exciting”.
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“It further supports the promise of multivitamins as a safe, accessible, and affordable approach to protecting cognitive health in older adults.”
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