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Vitamin supplementation may slow dementia in older adults

Supplementation had effects on memory and executive function

American researchers have evaluated the effects of multivitamin preparations over three years and demonstrate their benefits.

Supplementing with vitamins to slow down Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias? This could be a good idea, according to researchers from Wake Forest University in the United States. Their study published in the journal Alzheimer’s & Dementia is the first to examine the effects of daily cocoa and/or vitamin and mineral supplementation on a large, long-term basis.

In total, they followed 2,262 healthy adults, aged 73 on average, for three years. 60% of the participants were women. All were in good health and did not take dietary supplements before the study.

Cocoa has no effects

The researchers divided them into four groups: the first took cocoa extract and a vitamin preparation daily, the second took cocoa extract and a placebo; a third took a placebo and the vitamin preparation and the fourth had only placebos. Participants’ cognitive abilities were assessed by telephone interview at the start of the trial, then annually for three years.

While taking cocoa had no effect on cognition in seniors, the vitamin preparation did show relative improvements in both memory and executive function. “While the Alzheimer’s Association is 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,” said Dr. Maria C. Carrillo, lead chief scientist of the association. Further studies are needed. If the results are confirmed, the elderly would have a simple and inexpensive way to protect themselves from dementia.

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