A new study found that daily multivitamin supplements improved memory, executive function and cognition in older adults. Some degree of age-related cognitive decline is common, but older adults are also at risk of developing cognitive disorders like Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.
Research is ongoing on the factors that influence cognitive health and what can help prevent or slow cognitive decline. A new study found that multivitamin and mineral supplements improved memory, executive function and cognition in older adults who took a daily dose. Older people who experience cognitive decline are at risk for Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.
Experts are still working to understand the factors that influence cognitive function and what steps people can take to help prevent cognitive decline. A study published in Alzheimer’s & Dementia examined whether or not taking a multivitamin or cocoa extract daily affected cognitive function in older adults. Although the authors did not find any improvements related to cocoa intake, they did find that taking a daily multivitamin and mineral supplement was associated with improved memory and executive functions.
Cognitive decline in the elderly
Many people experience some level of age-related cognitive decline Trusted Source as they age. For example, occasionally forgetting details or misplacing something may happen more with age. But severe cognitive decline can lead to Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, which involve significant changes in a person’s ability to remember or make judgments that impact their daily life. While diseases like Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia are not common as we age, people over 65 are at greater risk of developing these conditions.
Researchers tend to agree that, overall, aging is linked to alterations in cognitive function. Perhaps the most discussed change in brain function associated with aging is long-term memory decline, where a general deterioration in memory has sometimes been considered part of “normal aging.” Further deterioration is linked to dementias such as Alzheimer’s disease. Work also suggests a general decline in working memory (a temporary storage system in our brains that allows us to work with multiple pieces of information) in older people, as well as relatively greater difficulty in multi-tasking. at a time. Experts are still struggling to understand the full impact of age-related changes. Research is also focusing on preventative measures seniors can take to improve and maintain their cognitive function.
Multivitamins and cognitive decline
For the study, researchers looked at the impact of taking a daily cocoa extract or multivitamin-mineral (MVM) supplement on cognitive function compared to a placebo. The authors of this study carried out a randomized clinical trial including more than 2,000 adults aged 65 and over. Participants had to meet specific eligibility criteria to participate in the study. For example, they must not have a history of heart attacks or serious illnesses that would prevent them from participating. They also must not be allergic to cocoa products or caffeine.
The researchers established a baseline for participants’ cognitive function at the start of the study. They also looked at participants’ ability to remember events and memories (episodic memory) and their executive function, which is related to concentration and thinking. They reassessed these components every year for three years.
The results of the study show that cocoa extract did not affect cognition. However, taking multivitamins was associated with improved cognition, executive function, and episodic memory. Participants with cardiovascular disease benefited the most.
The study author explains, “Daily supplementation with a multivitamin shows potential for improving (or protecting) cognitive abilities in older adults. However, further work is needed before a general recommendation can be made. Daily multivitamin supplementation showed relatively greater benefit for adults with cardiovascular disease. Given that only 10% of our sample (~200 people) reported significant cardiovascular events (e.g., stent placement, congestive heart failure, angioplasty) at the time they entered the study, this result needs to be replicated in a larger sample including more people with significant cardiovascular disease. »
The positive correlation between multivitamin consumption and cognition compared to placebo is notable, and although the overall data on multivitamins has been less supportive of a clear net benefit in the general population, it does provide some support for the idea. that ensuring adequate levels of key micronutrients may be helpful for longer-term brain health in aging populations, particularly those with pre-existing vascular disease. »
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