A recent study has suggested that taking a multivitamin supplement could potentially slow down memory loss in individuals aged 60 and above. A group of researchers in the United States conducted a thorough analysis using information from over 3,500 adults who participated in the COSMOS-Web clinical trial.
The study, which was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, involved randomly assigning the participants to two groups. One group took a daily Centrum Silver multivitamin, while the other group received a placebo.
This regimen was followed for a period of three years. The researchers conducted memory tests on the participants every year to assess the impact of the multivitamin.
Findings of the study
The findings revealed that individuals who consumed a multivitamin on a daily basis experienced an improvement in their memory when compared to those who received a placebo.
Adam Brickman, a professor of neuropsychology at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons, who led the study, expressed his views on the findings. He stated, “Cognitive ageing 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.”
After the first year, it was observed that those who took the multivitamin performed significantly better on the memory tests compared to those who received the placebo. The beneficial effects continued throughout the entire three-year duration of the study.
Notably, participants with underlying cardiovascular disease showed a particularly noteworthy improvement in their performance when they took the multivitamin supplement.
Professor Brickman mentioned that there is evidence suggesting that individuals with cardiovascular disease may have lower levels of micronutrients, which could potentially be corrected by taking multivitamins. However, the exact reason why the effect of multivitamins is more pronounced in this particular group is still unknown.
Need for additional studies
The researchers emphasized the need for additional studies to determine the specific nutrients that contribute to these benefits and to understand the underlying mechanisms involved.
Lok-Kin Yeung, a postdoctoral researcher at Columbia’s Taub Institute for Research on Alzheimer’s Disease and the Aging Brain, and the lead author of the study shared his insights.
He said, “Our study shows that the ageing 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.”
Some considerations before jumping to any conclusions
The study primarily involved participants who were predominantly white individuals of European descent. Therefore, it is important to conduct additional research to ascertain whether the findings can be applied to a more diverse population.
The research team also cautioned against perceiving supplements as a substitute for a healthy diet. While the study indicated the potential benefits of multivitamins, it is crucial to maintain a balanced and nutritious eating plan.
Professor Brickman further emphasized the importance of consulting a physician before incorporating multivitamins into one’s routine. Although multivitamins are generally considered safe, seeking professional medical advice is always recommended.