Daily multivitamin may improve cognition, may protect against decline: RCT

The study, which was funded by the US National Institute on Aging of the National Institutes of Health, included 2,200 participants aged 65 and older who were randomly assigned to take a daily multivitamin (Centrum Silver; Pfizer Consumer Healthcare, now Haleon) and/or a cocoa flavanol supplement from Mars Edge (a division of Mars), or placebo for three years.

While no cognitive benefits were observed in the cocoa flavanol group, significant benefits were recorded in those receiving the daily multivitamin.

“Our study showed that although cocoa extract did not affect cognition, daily multivitamin-mineral supplementation resulted in statistically significant cognitive improvement,”​ said Laura Baker, PhD, professor of gerontology and geriatric medicine at Wake Forest University School of Medicine and co-principal investigator of the trial. “This is the first evidence of cognitive benefit in a large longer-term study of multivitamin supplementation in older adults.”

Encouraging results

Commenting independently on the study’s findings, Maria Carrillo, PhD, chief science officer for the US Alzheimer’s Association, said: “This is the first positive, large-scale, long-term study to show that multivitamin-mineral supplementation for older adults may slow cognitive aging. While the Alzheimer’s Association is encouraged by these results, we are not ready to recommend widespread use of a multivitamin supplement to reduce risk of cognitive decline in older adults.

“Independent confirmatory studies are needed in larger, more diverse study populations. It is critical that future treatments and preventions are effective in all populations.”

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