There are many reasons to take a high-quality daily multivitamin — from helping prevent and/or overcome nutritional deficiencies to supporting growth and development, maintaining strong bones, and protecting the eyes and heart — and now there could be even more reason to add a multivitamin to your everyday routine.
It turns out, recent research shows that taking a daily multivitamin may protect cognition and possibly even help prevent cognitive decline.
Study: Daily Multivitamin Can Protect Cognition
Many supplements, including multivitamins, are praised for their brain-boosting effects, but research on these effects has been mixed over the years. To get a better understanding of the efficacy of brain supplements (aka nootropics), researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and Wake Forest School of Medicine examined the effects of cocoa extract and a daily multivitamin on cognitive health in older adults.
Published in the Alzheimer’s & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association, the COcoa Supplement and Multivitamin Outcomes Study for the Mind (COSMOS-Mind) trial tested both a daily multivitamin mineral (MVM) vs. a placebo and cocoa extract vs. a placebo to determine if they could enhance and protect cognition in older women and men.
In all, 2,262 people with a mean age of 73 years old participated in the trial, which was conducted over three years, testing “Telephone Interview of Cognitive Status, Word List and Story Recall, Oral Trail-Making, Verbal Fluency, Number Span, and Digit Ordering.”
The researchers concluded:
Cocoa extract did not benefit cognition. However, COSMOS-Mind provides the first evidence from a large, long-term, pragmatic trial to support the potential efficacy of a MVM to improve cognition in older adults. Additional work is needed to confirm these findings in a more diverse cohort and to identify mechanisms to account for MVM effects.
Specifically, the study authors noted, “Daily multivitamin-mineral (MVM) supplementation for 3 years improved global cognition, episodic memory, and executive function in older adults.”
“There’s an urgent need for safe and affordable interventions to protect cognition against decline in older adults,” said Laura D. Baker, Ph.D., professor of gerontology and geriatric medicine at Wake Forest University School of Medicine and co-principal investigator of the trial, along with Mark Espeland, Ph.D., professor of gerontology and geriatric medicine at Wake Forest University School of Medicine.
Baker added: “Our study showed that although cocoa extract did not affect cognition, daily multivitamin-mineral supplementation resulted in statistically significant cognitive improvement. This is the first evidence of cognitive benefit in a large longer-term study of multivitamin supplementation in older adults.”
She did note that while this trial is certainly a good thing, there is more research that needs to be done to confirm the results. Regardless, it’s just another reason to add a multivitamin to your daily routine.
In addition to taking a daily multivitamin for cognition, there are other ways to keep your brain sharp and combat the effects of aging:
- Continue to learn things, take new classes, etc.
- Supplement with nootropics.
- Consume an anti-inflammatory diet, and avoid a processed diet.
- Focus on relationships.
- Exercise regularly.
- Get enough quality sleep.
- Eat more brain foods.