Taking a daily multivitamin may slow memory loss in people 60 or older by about two years, a study published Thursday showed.
Multivitamins may slow memory loss in older adults
by aparodyoflife ·
Each study had “non-overlapping” participants and used different methods, leading to slightly different results. But together they add to growing evidence that taking a daily multivitamin can have a significant impact on cognition among older adults.
Cognitive decline is among the top health concerns for most older adults, said Chirag Vyas, an investigative instructor in the department of psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital and first author of the latest study. Daily supplements provide an “attractive and accessible approach” to slowing it down, he said.
These studies are part of the Cocoa Supplement and Multivitamin Outcomes Study (COSMOS), a larger body of research examining the health effects of certain nutritional supplements; It is a collaboration between Massachusetts General Hospital, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Columbia University, and Wake Forest University.
The most recent study of 573 individuals found statistically significant improvements in short- and long-term memory — for example, recall of a list of words given to them during a test — among those taking multivitamins. But there was less benefit than in the first study for executive function tasks such as counting backwards or naming animals or vegetables at the right time, says Joan Manson, MD, chief of preventive medicine at the Brigham and co-lead of the COSMOS study with Howard Sisso, co-author. Section Manager .
The first study, which tested participants’ cognition through telephone interviews, showed a 1.8-year delay in memory loss and cognitive aging, while the second study, which included web-based assessments, found that the multivitamin group showed an estimated 3.1 years less cognitive aging. Memory loss compared with placebo group. The third study showed a two-year delay in memory loss.
The first study showed a “significant” benefit in both memory and executive function, while the second study focused primarily on memory, not executive function, Manson said.
Many patients worry about developing Alzheimer’s disease, said Paul Schultz, professor of neurology and director of the Center for Neurocognitive Disorders at McGovern Medical School at UT Health Houston. But more often than not, he said, it’s due to the normal cognitive decline associated with aging.
“Then people ask me: ‘I’m glad it’s not Alzheimer’s, but is there anything I can do about it?’ said Schulz, who was not involved in the research. “This study suggests the interesting possibility that some degree of normal aging can be avoided by simple vitamin supplements.”
‘Amazing’ results in multivitamin study
“The results are striking and robust in their consistency,” said Manson, who is also a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. “Each study shows a slightly different result, but taken together, they are a strong indicator of the overall benefits of multivitamins on memory and cognitive aging.”
The research — all randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trials, considered the “gold standard” in methodology — studied 5,000 participants and lasted two to three years. The latest study and meta-analysis appeared Thursday in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
The probability of these results occurring by chance is less than 1 in 1,000, according to calculations in the meta-analysis, Manson said. This raises the “possibility that these are real effects of multivitamins,” she said.
All studies used a commonly available multivitamin – Centrum Silver for adults (ages 50+). But although it hasn’t been studied, any high-quality multivitamin would likely provide similar benefits, Manson said.
“We have three separate studies, as well as a joint analysis, that confirm the findings,” she said. “If this were an expensive drug, it would be aggressively marketed, even before there was evidence of its long-term safety.” Multivitamins are available over the counter and are affordable, she said, and “we already know they are safe when taken for many years.”
The third study and meta-analysis were funded by investigator-initiated grants from Mars Edge, Mars Inc.’s Life Sciences Division, and the National Institutes of Health. The multivitamin tablets, placebo tablets and packaging were donated by Pfizer Consumer Healthcare, the maker of Centrum Silver, (now Haleon), which did not provide funding, the researchers said.
In addition, Siso reported receiving investigator-initiated grants from Pure Encapsulations and Pfizer, and honoraria or travel to lecture from the Council for Responsible Nutrition, BASF, NIH, and the American Society for Nutrition during the conduct of the study.
Healthy eating is important
The first two studies were racially and ethnically diverse because interviews were conducted by phone or online, while the third was less diverse because it involved in-person testing of participants confined to the Boston area — something the researchers acknowledged.
Differences in participants and methodology may have contributed to the differences in results, Manson said.
“The vast majority of participants were white, which is not reflective of the older population as a whole,” said Christine Kistler, an assistant professor of geriatrics at the University of Pittsburgh who was not involved in any of the studies. “I also wish the studies could be done over a longer period of time.”
“People may want to hedge their bets and take a multivitamin, as there’s no harm, but I’ll stick to eating healthy, exercising, and sleeping well for now,” Kistler also said.
Manson said individuals can obtain essential vitamins and minerals needed for brain health through healthy food. But “many people are deficient in one or more important micronutrients important for cognitive function,” including vitamin B12 and vitamin B12. Lutein and zinc, Dr. said.
Centrum product contains them. “But that doesn’t mean people should give up eating healthy because they’re taking multivitamins,” she added.
Vitamins and minerals are very popular among Americans. More than 39% of people over the age of 60 take it, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Donald Hensrud, a nutritionist at Harvard University, said: “Although this study does not replace recommendations for eating a healthy diet, it reinforces previous findings and remains the best evidence for taking multivitamins, at least for people ages 60 and older.” “. Mayo Clinic, also not involved in the study.
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