Taking multivitamin supplements can slow memory loss, three studies confirm

Taking a multivitamin supplement daily may protect against memory loss in older adults, according to three studies that included more than 5,000 participants.

Studies found that, compared to a placebo, taking a daily multivitamin slowed cognitive aging by about two years, according to Dr. Chirag Vyas, a research faculty at Massachusetts General Hospital.

The research was part of the COSMOS trial, a much larger clinical trial that explored whether a daily multivitamin (in this case, Centrum Silver), a cocoa extract supplement, or both could protect against heart disease and cancer.

The results of the third and final study were published this Thursday in the scientific journal The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. In it, 573 adults over the age of 60 took a multivitamin or a placebo daily for two years.

The researchers assessed their cognitive function and with a series of tests at the beginning and end of the study. The previous two, which also compared the effect of a daily multivitamin with a placebo, used telephone or online tests to measure cognitive function.

Pfizer, the company that makes Centrum Silver, provided the multivitamins and placebo tablets used in the study. Mars Inc, a candy and snack conglomerate, partially funded the COSMOS trial. Neither company was involved in the design of the trials.

Findings and limitations of the studies

All three studies conclusively demonstrated that taking a daily multivitamin can have a modest effect in preventing memory loss normal that comes with aging, said Vyas, who led the third study.

In an analysis of the three studies, the researchers concluded that daily consumption of multivitamins benefited both global cognition—that is, aspects such as reasoning, attention and planning—and the ability to recall memories of everyday life in healthy older adults.

But it’s not clear which specific vitamins and minerals in a multivitamin are protective, or how they exert their effects.

“Future studies are needed to identify the specific micronutrients that contribute most to cognitive benefits,” Vyas said. More research is also needed that includes more racial and ethnic diversity, since the majority of participants were white.

As people age, the membranes surrounding neurons, or brain cells, begin to deteriorate. According to Vyas, vitamins could protect against some of that deterioration.

The idea that vitamins alone could protect cognitive function in older adults is plausible, but there are some caveats based on the relatively short studies, said Dr. Richard Caselli, professor emeritus of neurology at the Mayo Clinic in Arizona.

“The amount of cognitive changes that occur over the course of three years in healthy individuals who do not have Alzheimer’s is quite minimal,” he said.

Some doctors are skeptical

Caselli specified that, although Would you feel comfortable recommending a daily multivitamin to elderly patients?is not convinced that it has a significant impact on cognitive function.

“I’m still a little skeptical as to the magnitude of the impact,” he said. “I doubt the difference is really big.”

Dr. Zaldy Tan, a geriatrician at the Jona Goldrich Center for Alzheimer’s and Memory Disorders at Cedars Sinai in Los Angeles, said some patients will likely benefit more than others.

“Certainly, a subset of people who have vitamin deficiencies in their diet could benefit from taking a multivitamin overall and potentially from a cognitive standpoint,” Tan said. “But it’s hard to say right now whether it’s the multivitamin that’s causing the deficiency.” improvement or is there something else.”

Tan noted that deficiency of some specific vitamins, such as B12, A and E, has been linked to impaired cognitive health, although the evidence is inconclusive. Some people with this problem might benefit from taking vitamin supplements, but everyone in general is less likely to do so.

Caselli stated that, to protect yourself from cognitive decline, it is important to take care of your health.

“A general rule is that everything that is bad for the body is also bad for the brain, and “Everything that is good for the body is good for the brain.”he commented.

Caselli recommended maintaining an active social life and also physical and mental activity during old age. Common diseases such as heart disease, sleep apnea, and diabetes can also affect brain health. As for taking a daily multivitamin, it can be done if you fear that your diet does not provide enough vitamins and minerals.

“Taking a multivitamin supplement is probably good, but we don’t know if it can have a big impact on people who have a healthy diet,” Caselli explained.