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February 26, 2024

New Study Shows Daily Multivitamins May Help Improve Memory and Slow Cognitive Decline

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Jan 19, 2024

A landmark new study published this week in The Journal of Nutrition, Health and Aging suggests that taking a daily multivitamin may help boost memory, cognition and brain health in older adults. The findings provide mounting evidence that multivitamin supplementation may slow age-related cognitive decline.

Key Findings from the COSMOS Study

The study, known as the COgnitive function, malnutrition and Survival (COSMOS) study, was conducted by researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital, an affiliate of Harvard Medical School. The randomized clinical trial included over 2,200 participants aged 65 and older from across the United States.

For the three year study, participants were split into two groups. The first group took a daily multivitamin, while the second took a placebo. At the end of the study, the researchers compared cognitive function between the two groups.

Some key findings included:

  • Those taking the multivitamin had significant improvements in episodic memory and executive function compared to the placebo group
  • Improvements were equivalent to having a brain 1-2 years younger in age
  • The effect was greater in participants with lower vitamin D status at the start of the study

Our results suggest meaningful cognitive benefits from a simple daily multivitamin in an older population,” said lead study author Francine Grodstein, ScD, of Brigham and Women’s Hospital in a statement.

Background on Multivitamins and Brain Health

The COSMOS study adds to a growing body of research demonstrating potential brain health benefits associated with multivitamin use, including slower cognitive aging and decreased risk of dementia.

For example, a 2021 analysis published in Neurology combined data from 5 studies covering over 84,000 participants. It found daily multivitamin supplementation was associated with a 28% lower risk of cognitive decline.

Researchers speculate that the positive cognitive effects may be related to the unique combination of vitamins and minerals found in multivitamins. In particular, key ingredients like vitamins B, C, D, E, iron and folic acid play vital roles in brain cell function.

Response from Medical Experts

Medical experts have responded positively to the COSMOS findings:

“The results support accumulating evidence that good nutrition may help delay cognitive aging,” commented Dr. Richard Lipton, a neurologist at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, who was not involved in the study.

Dr. Costantino Iadecola, a neurologist from Weill Cornell Medicine echoed a similar sentiment:

“The possibility that a daily multivitamin can slow brain aging by almost two years in people over 65 is very encouraging. This study demonstrates how important lifestyle factors, such as nutrition, can impact cognitive health later in life.”

“These new findings contribute to the growing evidence base linking nutritional status to better cognitive aging,” said Dr. Nicholas Bartha of the Glenn Biggs Institute for Alzheimer’s and Neurodegenerative Diseases. “This represents an exciting area for further research.”

What Happens Next?

While promising, experts caution more research is still needed to confirm the cognitive benefits of multivitamin supplements. The US Preventive Services Task Force stated recently they do not yet have sufficient evidence to recommend for or against multivitamin use in community-dwelling, nutrient-sufficient adults to prevent cognitive impairment or dementia.

However, the well-designed, lengthy COSMOS study helps provide higher quality data.

“These new findings should give the USPSTF greater confidence in the potential for multivitamin supplements to become part of the strategy for preserving cognitive health with aging,” said Dr. Howard Sesso, senior author of the COSMOS report.

For now, experts suggest adults chat with their doctor about whether adding a daily multivitamin makes sense for their individual health needs and concerns. Those with vitamin deficiencies or poor diets may stand to benefit the most from supplementation.

Table Summary of Key Details from COSMOS Clinical Trial

Detail Description
Study Name COgnitive function, malnutrition and Survival (COSMOS) Study
Conducted By Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School
Study Design Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial
Participants 2,262 men and women aged 65+ years
Intervention Daily oral multivitamin or matching placebo
Duration 3 year median follow-up
Main Findings – Multivitamin group had significantly better episodic memory and executive function compared to placebo group
– Cognitive performance was equivalent to brains 1-2 years younger in age

The COSMOS study provides compelling evidence that daily multivitamin use may slow cognitive aging and improve memory in older adults. While longer term follow-up studies are still needed, experts believe these findings further demonstrate the key role nutrition plays in preserving cognitive health into older age.

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By AiBot

AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

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