Researchers have found that daily multivitamin supplements, specifically Centrum Silver, may help slow the normal forgetfulness associated with aging.
The study, published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, analysed data from over 3,500 older participants and found that those who took the multivitamin over a period of three years had better memories than those who received a placebo treatment. The results are seen as very encouraging, as cognitive change and memory loss are significant concerns for older adults, and there are limited strategies to mitigate these changes.
The study was part of the Cocoa Supplement and Multivitamin Outcomes Study (COSMOS), which investigates the effects of cocoa supplements and multivitamins on cognition, cancer risk, and cardiovascular events.
The researchers used a web-based memory test to evaluate participants' memories at the beginning of the study, after one year, and after three years. The group taking the daily multivitamin performed significantly better on the memory test compared to the placebo group, equivalent to an improvement of memory performance by 3.1 years.
These findings replicate the cognitive benefits observed in another large study called COSMOS-Mind, which showed a 60% slowing of cognitive aging globally with daily multivitamin use.
The researchers have not determined which ingredient in the multivitamins is responsible for the cognitive effects, but the formulation includes vitamins A, C, B vitamins, and zinc. It is also unclear if other brands of multivitamins would have the same benefits. While the effect observed in the study is relatively small and may not be noticeable for individuals, combining multivitamins with other lifestyle modifications, such as exercise and following a Mediterranean diet, could have a larger combined impact in reducing the risk of cognitive decline.
Dr Paul Newhouse, director of the Vanderbilt Center for Cognitive Medicine, suggests that longer studies are needed before doctors can prescribe multivitamins to prevent cognitive decline. However, the study indicates that multivitamin supplementation is not harmful and may be potentially beneficial.
The researchers acknowledge that the participants in the study were educated individuals who were highly motivated, so the results may not be representative of other groups of people or those already experiencing cognitive decline.
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