Taking a multivitamin every day may help older people remember things better and keep them from getting worse
Recent large-scale research supports the idea that older women and men taking a multivitamin-mineral supplement every day may experience an increase in cognitive performance or protection against cognitive decline. Alzheimer's & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer's Association has released the results.
Memory, cognition, and behavior may all be negatively impacted by Alzheimer's disease, a form of dementia. The onset of symptoms is often gradual and progressive, eventually becoming severe enough to cause significant functional impairment.
Alzheimer's disease accounts for 60-80% of all instances of dementia. Although the exact origin of Alzheimer's is unknown, researchers believe that a person's genes, environment, and way of life all play a part. One in three elderly people in the United States will die of Alzheimer's disease or another kind of dementia.
Laura D. Baker, a professor of gerontology and geriatric medicine at Wake Forest University School of Medicine and lead author of the research, emphasized the "urgent need for safe and economical therapies to preserve cognition against deterioration in older persons."
The current research used information gathered from a previous study called "The COcoa Supplement and Multivitamin Outcomes Study for the Mind" (COSMOS-Mind), which was supported by the National Institute on Aging.
The COSMOS-Mind study compared the effects of a daily dose of cocoa extract vs placebo and a multivitamin-mineral supplement with placebo on memory and thinking abilities in people aged 65 and above. There were almost 2,200 enrollees, all 65 and over, and they were monitored for a full three years. Memory and other cognitive functions were assessed by administering yearly telephone tests to all participants.
Past study has shown that cocoa extract, which is rich in molecules called flavanols, might have a beneficial effect on cognition, so the researchers were curious to look into it. As a lack of certain micronutrients and minerals may raise the risk for cognitive decline and dementia in the elderly, a multivitamin-mineral supplement was investigated.
The study could not find any indication that cocoa extract improved mental performance. "It is likely that the COSMOS-Mind cocoa flavanol dose was too low to cause cognitive improvement during the trial observation time," the authors admitted.
A daily multivitamin and mineral intake, on the other hand, led to enhanced mental performance. For the first time, a long-term trial of multivitamin supplementation in older persons shows cognitive improvement, as stated by Baker.
The researchers found that cognitive deterioration was slowed by around 60 percent when subjects took multivitamins for three years. Participants with severe cardiovascular illness reaped the most advantages, which is relevant since these people are at a higher risk for cognitive loss, to begin with.
Baker has said that it is now too soon to suggest taking a multivitamin every day to stave against mental deterioration. While these results are encouraging, more study has to be done with a bigger and more diversified sample of the population. Further research is needed to determine the exact mechanism through which multivitamins may improve mental function in the elderly.
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