Monday, March 20, 2023

Study finds possible link between daily multivitamin, better cognition in older adults

Researchers from Wake Forest University School of Medicine and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston analyzed cognitive function in older adults who took a cocoa extract supplement, a multivitamin or a placebo every day for three years. (GetFocusStudio, Shutterstock)

Estimated reading time: 5-6 minutes

Winston-Salem, NC — Taking a daily multivitamin may lead to better brain function in older adults, a new study says, and the benefit appears to be greater for those with a history of heart disease.

The findings didn’t surprise the researchers — rather, they were shocked, said Laura Baker, an author of the study and a professor of gerontology and geriatric medicine at Wake Forest University in North Carolina.

“I have to use the word ‘shocked,'” Baker said.

Researchers — from Wake Forest University School of Medicine, in collaboration with Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston — analyzed cognitive function in older adults who were asked to take a cocoa extract supplement containing flavonoids, a multivitamin, or a placebo every day for three days. was assigned. years. No one, not even the researchers, knew which routine was assigned to whom until the results were out.

“We really believed that there was going to be some benefit to cognition based on prior reports of cardiovascular benefits from cocoa extract. So we look forward to that big reveal in our data analysis – and that it is not a benefit from cocoa extract.” It happened rather a multivitamin,” Baker said. “We are excited because our findings open a new avenue for investigation – for a simple, accessible, safe, inexpensive intervention that may have the potential to provide a layer of protection against cognitive decline.”

But he said he and his team are not ready to recommend that older adults immediately include a daily multivitamin in their routine based on these results alone.

The findings, published Wednesday in Alzheimer’s & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association, are not definitive and cannot be generalized to the public. More research is needed to confirm them.

“It is too early to make these recommendations,” Baker said. “I think we need to do this in another study.”

Finding the Connection in Brain Health

The new study involved 2,262 people 65 and older who were enrolled between August 2016 and August 2017 and followed for three years. Participants completed tests over the phone annually to evaluate their cognitive function. They were scored on other tests such as remembering stories, showing verbal fluency and, in the order of points.

The researchers analyzed function, based on test scores, in those taking daily cocoa extracts compared to placebo and those taking daily multivitamins compared to placebo.

Researchers found that three years of taking the multivitamin reduced cognitive aging by 1.8 years, or 60%, compared to a placebo. The researchers wrote that daily cocoa extract supplementation for three years did not affect cognitive function.

The study — supported by the National Institute on Aging of the National Institutes of Health — also found that multivitamins were most beneficial for older adults who had a history of heart disease.

“It is well known that those with cardiovascular risk factors can lead to low levels in the blood of vitamins and minerals. So supplementation with those vitamins and minerals can improve cardiovascular health and, based on this, improve cognitive health – And we know there is a strong link between cardiovascular health and brain health,” said Dr. Keith Vosel, professor of neurology and director of the Mary S. Easton Center for Alzheimer’s Research and Care, University of California, Los Angeles.

Thanks to that link between cardiovascular and brain health, taking steps to prevent cardiovascular disease or other chronic diseases — such as maintaining a healthy diet and exercise — can also benefit the brain, said Vosel, who was involved in the new study. was not included.

“If we can really eliminate or really prevent chronic diseases, we can prevent dementia,” he said. “Roughly 40% of dementia can be prevented with better preventive measures throughout life.”

The specific factors that drive this link between multivitamins and cognitive function are not clear and more research is needed, but Baker and his team think the findings suggest multivitamins may benefit people who have micronutrients such as vitamin C, vitamin E. Nutrient deficiencies may occur. , magnesium or zinc.

“As we get older, the condition can get worse. Many of our older adults don’t have enough nutrition for a variety of reasons,” Baker said.

“As we get older, we are more likely to have medical conditions that can compromise micronutrient adequacy,” she said. “The medications we take for these conditions can also affect micronutrient adequacy by interfering with the body’s ability to absorb these essential nutrients from the diet.”

‘We’ve been down this road a little earlier’

Other studies have had mixed results on the association between certain vitamins and supplements and dementia risk, warns Vosel.

“We’ve been down this road a little bit before with vitamin and dementia research. For many years, dementia experts had been recommending vitamin E based on some early promising results with vitamin E and cognition, and Alzheimer’s disease in particular. ones. But then again, the results have been mixed since then,” Vossel said.

She adds that older adults should talk to their primary care physician before starting a vitamin or supplement routine.

“Supplementing is generally safe, but it needs to be carefully monitored, especially for people who have memory loss, because vitamin overdose can be very dangerous,” Vossel said. “Even taking vitamin E overdoses or high levels of vitamin E can increase the risk of bleeding. So these are just a few ideas.”

Overall, the new study’s findings are encouraging, said Heather Snyder, vice president of medical and scientific relations at the Alzheimer’s Association.

“There is certainly follow-up work that we need to see — especially independent confirmation in studies that are in larger and more diverse populations — but it’s encouraging,” she said. “More research needs to be done to understand what it is in multivitamins that may have benefits.”

Latest Health Stories

More stories you might be interested in

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
Nation World News is the fastest emerging news website covering all the latest news, world’s top stories, science news entertainment sports cricket’s latest discoveries, new technology gadgets, politics news, and more.
Latest news
Related news