Daily Multivitamins and Their Potential to Enhance Memory in Older Individuals

Daily multivitamin supplementation indicated in a recent study of COcoa Supplement and Multivitamin Outcomes Study (COSMOS), suggests potential benefits in enhancing memory and slowing cognitive decline among aging individuals, potentially impacting millions dealing with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease in the United States.

Published on Thursday, this study is the third installment of the COSMOS series, a comprehensive nationwide clinical trial exploring the impact of cocoa extract and multivitamin supplements on cognition enhancement and Alzheimer’s risk reduction.

Previous COSMOS studies hinted at the positive impact of daily multivitamins on cognition, prompting the current study, which integrates data from over 500 participants and meta-analysis from more than 5,000 participants, both groups averaging 69 years old.

Chirag Vyas, the first author of the study and an instructor in investigation at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), emphasized the potential of a daily multivitamin supplement as an accessible and attractive strategy to mitigate cognitive aging, addressing a primary concern for older adults.

In the initial phase, cognitive assessments were administered to 573 participants, revealing that a daily multivitamin led to improved memory and cognition over a two-year period, in contrast to a placebo. 

Those taking multivitamins exhibited memory equivalent to someone almost five years younger and cognition comparable to someone two years younger.

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Daily Multivitamin Use Boosts Episodic Memory

daily-multivitamins-their-potential-enhance-memory-older-individuals
Daily multivitamin supplementation indicated in a recent study of COcoa Supplement and Multivitamin Outcomes Study (COSMOS), suggests potential benefits in enhancing memory and slowing cognitive decline among aging individuals, potentially impacting millions dealing with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease in the United States.

Daily multivitamin consumption yielded significant benefits for episodic memory, enhancing the ability to recall memories, while showing no corresponding improvement in executive attention, which encompasses the capacity to block distractions and concentrate on a task.

A meta-analysis encompassing the three distinct studies, each with non-overlapping participants, reinforced the positive effects of multivitamin use on memory and cognition, particularly beneficial for nutrient-deficient seniors.

Dr. Olivia Okereke, the senior author of the report and director of geriatric psychiatry at MGH, emphasized the relevance of these findings for older adults, keen on preserving brain health.

Despite the promising results, the study has limitations, including the use of Centrum Silver as the specific multivitamin, potentially limiting the generalizability to other brands. 

Furthermore, the study’s participant composition, with 98% being white, raises questions about applicability to the non-white population.

With an estimated 6.7 million Americans currently living with Alzheimer’s and related dementias, and projections indicating a rise to 14 million by 2060, this study adds to the growing body of evidence supporting lifestyle interventions for brain health, while acknowledging the need for further research in the specific vitamins contributing to the observed benefits.

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