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Third Major Study Shows Multivitamins May Improve Memory And Slow Cognitive Decline

2 months, 4 weeks ago

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Posted on Jan 23, 2024, 6 p.m.

Approximately 1 in 4 Americans will be in the age bracket for elevated risks of cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease by 2060 unless interventions can help preserve cognitive functions before the deficits begin to occur. Two previous published studies of the large-scale, nationwide, randomized COcoa Supplement and Multivitamin Outcomes Study (COSMOS) trial suggested a positive effect from daily multivitamins. The researchers now report a third study of cognition together with the results of combined analysis from the three separate studies, confirming consistent and statistically significant benefits. 

This meta-analysis of 5,000 non-overlapping participants published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, which included 573 participants who underwent detailed in-person assessments over 2 years in the third study, found evidence of daily multivitamin supplements showing statistical benefits for memory and global cognition. The authors estimated that the daily multivitamin slowed global cognitive aging by the equivalent of two years, compared to placebo.

“Cognitive decline is among the top health concerns for most older adults, and a daily supplement of multivitamins has the potential as an appealing and accessible approach to slow cognitive aging,” said first author Chirag Vyas, MBBS, MPH, instructor in investigation at the Department of Psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), a founding member of the Mass General Brigham healthcare system.

“The meta-analysis of three separate cognition studies provides strong and consistent evidence that taking a daily multivitamin, containing more than 20 essential micronutrients, helps prevent memory loss and slow down cognitive aging.” 

“These findings will garner attention among many older adults who are, understandably, very interested in ways to preserve brain health, as they provide evidence for the role of a daily multivitamin in supporting better cognitive aging,” added Olivia Okereke, MD SM, senior author of the report and director of Geriatric Psychiatry at MGH.

The overall COSMOS trial is led by JoAnn Manson, MD, DrPH, and Howard Sesso, ScD, MPH, both of Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH), also a founding member of Mass General Brigham. Manson, co-author of the report and Chief of the Division of Preventive Medicine at BWH, commented: “The finding that a daily multivitamin improved memory and slowed cognitive aging in three separate placebo-controlled studies in COSMOS is exciting and further supports the promise of multivitamins as a safe, accessible and affordable approach to protecting cognitive health in older adults.”

“With these three studies using different approaches for assessing cognition in COSMOS, each providing support for a daily multivitamin, it is now critical to understand the mechanisms by which a daily multivitamin may protect against memory loss and cognitive decline with a focus on nutritional status and other aging-related factors. For example, the modifying role of baseline nutritional status on protecting against cognitive decline has been shown for the COSMOS cocoa extract intervention. A typical multivitamin such as that tested in COSMOS contains many essential vitamins and minerals that could explain its potential benefits,” adds Sesso who is also a co-author and the associate director of the BWH Division of Preventive Medicine.

As with anything you read on the internet, this article should not be construed as medical advice; please talk to your doctor or primary care provider before changing your wellness routine. This article is not intended to provide a medical diagnosis, recommendation, treatment, or endorsement. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. 

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References/Sources/Materials provided by:

https://www.massgeneralbrigham.org/en/about/newsroom/press-releases/multivitamins-improve-memory-and-slow-cognitive-aging

https://www.massgeneralbrigham.org/en

http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajcnut.2023.12.011

COSMOS Trial – COcoa Supplement and Multivitamin Outcomes Study

Vyas CM, Manson, JE, Sesso HD, et al. “Effect of multivitamin-mineral supplementation versus placebo on cognitive function: Results from the clinic sub-cohort of the COSMOS randomized clinical trial and meta-analysis of three cognition studies within COSMOS” AJCN D0I: 10.1016/j.ajcnut.2023.12.011

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