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Daily Multivitamin Supplementation Improves Memory in Older Adults, New Study Finds

“Cognitive aging is a top health concern for older adults, and this study suggests that there may be a simple, inexpensive way to help older adults slow down memory decline,” said Columbia University’s Professor Adam Brickman, senior author of the study.

“Many older people take vitamins or dietary supplements under the assumption that they will help maintain general health.”

“But studies that have tested whether they improve memory and brain function have been mixed, and very few large-scale, randomized trials have been done.”

The study involved more than 3,500 adults (mostly non-Hispanic white) over age 60.

The participants were randomly assigned to take a daily multivitamin supplement or placebo for three years.

At the end of each year, they performed a series of online cognitive assessments at home designed to test memory function of the hippocampus, an area of the brain that is affected by normal aging.

By the end of the first year, memory improved for people taking a daily multivitamin, compared with those taking a placebo.

The researchers estimate the improvement, which was sustained over the three-year study period, was equivalent to about three years of age-related memory decline. The effect was more pronounced in participants with underlying cardiovascular disease.

“There is evidence that people with cardiovascular disease may have lower micronutrient levels that multivitamins may correct, but we don’t really know right now why the effect is stronger in this group,” Professor Brickman said.

Though the researchers did not look at whether any specific component of the multivitamin supplement was linked to the improvement in memory, the findings support growing evidence that nutrition is important for optimizing brain health as we age.

“Our study shows that the aging brain may be more sensitive to nutrition than we realized, though it may not be so important to find out which specific nutrient helps slow age-related cognitive decline,” said study’s first author Dr. Lok-Kin Yeung, also from Columbia University.

“The finding that a daily multivitamin improved memory in two separate cognition studies in the COSMOS randomized trial is remarkable, suggesting that multivitamin supplementation holds promise as a safe, accessible, and affordable approach to protecting cognitive health in older adults,” added study’s co-author Dr. JoAnn Manson, a researcher at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

“Supplementation of any kind shouldn’t take the place of more holistic ways of getting the same micronutrients.”

“Though multivitamins are generally safe, people should always consult a physician before taking them.”

Category: Technology

Source: Sci News

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