The 'promising' link between multivitamins and brain health

The ‘promising’ link between multivitamins and brain health

in a new way study Posted Wednesday in Alzheimer’s disease and dementiaand researchers from Wake Forest University It found a “promising” link between multivitamins and cognition and memory in older adults.

Study details and main results

For the study, researchers followed 2,262 individuals enrolled in the COSMOS-Mind trial, which lasted for three years. On average, the participants were 73 years old. In addition, 60% are women and 89% are white. None of the participants had a history of myocardial infarction or stroke.

To test whether two measures could improve cognition in older adults, participants were randomly assigned to one of four groups using a two-by-two factorial design. The first measure, a daily dose of 500 mg cocoa extract capsules, and the second measure, a common multivitamin called Centrum Silver, was given to participants who were randomly assigned to receive the treatment.

One group of participants took a daily dose of cocoa extract and Centrum Silver, one group took two placebos, and another group took Centrum Silver and a placebo of cocoa extract. The last group took a cocoa extract with a placebo from Centrum Silver.

To assess cognition over time, the researchers conducted telephone interviews at the start of the trial and each year for three years. They have created a universal cognition complex based on the mean z Scores from individual tests, including the cognitive status telephone interview, word list and story recall, oral path making, verbal fluency, number stretching, and number order.

Participants who received a daily dose of cocoa extract did not see any additional relative of the groups that did not take cocoa extract. However, the researchers found a statistically significant increase in the cognitive score of the participants who took Centrum Silver. Among the participants who took the vitamins, the most significant benefits appeared to be among those with a history of cardiovascular disease.

Episodic memory and executive function also improved.

Notably, many of the participants who received a placebo daily also improved their scores, with higher scores one and two years after starting the trial. However, study author Laura Becker noted that this is a known occurrence with these types of cognitive tests.

“Their results are really improving, but that’s not because they are getting smarter. It’s because they are more familiar with the test,” Becker said.

The key thing, Becker added, is to compare the increase in numbers of people in the placebo group with those taking a multivitamin. After two years, cognitive scores for both groups stabilized, but remained higher among those who took the multivitamin until the third year.


While the study results sounded promising, they also left many unanswered questions. “While the Alzheimer’s Association Encouraged by these findings, we are not prepared to recommend widespread use of a multivitamin supplement to reduce the risk of cognitive decline in older adults,” Maria Carrillo, chief science officer for the Alzheimer’s Association.

“Independent confirmatory studies are needed in the largest and most diverse study groups,” Carrillo noted. “It is critical that future treatments and prevention are effective in all population groups.”

The study authors note that COSMOS-Mind has several limitations. In particular, they highlighted that participants were responsible for self-reporting of their adherence to their assigned treatments, which makes it difficult to guarantee accuracy.

The researchers did not identify which ingredients in Centrum Silver improved cognition. They had no biological markers or genetic information about the participants.

However, Baker noted that “[t]It is the first evidence of cognitive benefit in a large, long-term study of vitamin supplementation in the elderly. ”

However, she cautioned, it’s too early to recommend a daily multivitamin to prevent cognitive decline.

“While these preliminary results are promising, more research is needed in a larger and more diverse group of people,” Baker said. “Also, we still have work to do to better understand why vitamins may benefit cognition in older adults.” (and weight, STAT, 9/14; George, MedPage today9/15)

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