Mounting evidence shows daily multivitamins keep you sharp as you age

by NEW YORK DIGITAL NEWS


It isn’t known which components of multivitamins are responsible for cognitive benefits

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Taking a daily multivitamin slows the rate of memory decline in older people, a study has shown.

The research is the third randomised trial to produce such a result, adding to the growing body of evidence that multivitamins can slow the cognitive deterioration that occurs with age.

“The result is equivalent to slowing cognitive ageing by two years, which is a lot,” says JoAnn Manson at Harvard Medical School, who was involved in all three trials. These were part of a larger study to see if taking a multivitamin or a cocoa extract supplement could help prevent heart disease or cancer in people aged 60 or older, funded by the manufacturer of the cocoa supplements.

A subset of the participants were also given memory tests that were designed to measure if either of the supplements had any mental effects.

The latest trial compared both kinds of supplements with placebo tablets in 573 people, who underwent in-person memory testing at the start of the study and two years later. Those who took the multivitamin, called Centrum Silver, performed modestly better on the memory tests than those who took the placebo tablets.

This is a similar result to those of two other branches of the larger study, which gave people memory tests either online or over the phone.

“The findings suggest that multivitamins hold promise as a safe, affordable strategy to protect memory and slow cognitive ageing in older adults,” says Manson.

It isn’t known which components of the multivitamin may be responsible for the benefit.

Duane Mellor at the British Dietetic Association says that because the trial wasn’t designed to investigate memory effects, we need a further study that is set up specifically to study this question. “We need to treat the results with caution,” he says. “It’s not definitive research.”

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