Multivitamin-mineral supplementation may slow cognitive aging

DAYTON — Alzheimer’s & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association published “Effects of cocoa extract and a multivitamin on cognitive function: a randomized clinical trial” last week.

The three-year study of more than 2,200 older adults found that daily multivitamin-mineral supplementation resulted in a statistically significant cognitive benefit. Cocoa extract had no effect on global cognition.

“This is the first positive, large-scale, long-term study to show that multivitamin-mineral supplementation for older adults may slow cognitive aging,” stated Dr. Maria Carrillo, Chief Science Officer for the Alzheimer’s Association. “While the Alzheimer’s Association is encouraged by these results, we are not ready to recommend widespread use of a multivitamin supplement to reduce risk of cognitive decline in older adults.”

“Independent confirmatory studies are needed in larger, more diverse study populations. It is critical that future treatments and preventions are effective in all populations.”

“For now, and until there is more data, people should talk with their health care providers about the benefits and risks of all dietary supplements, including multivitamins,” continues Carillo.

“We envision a future where there are multiple treatments and risk reduction strategies available that address cognitive aging and dementia in multiple ways — like heart disease and cancer — and that can be combined into powerful combination therapies… in conjunction with brain-healthy guidelines for lifestyle factors like diet and physical activity,” said Carillo

For people living with Alzheimer’s, every discovery offers new hope. The Alzheimer’s Association works to identify and fund a wide range of the most promising projects, from basic discovery science to new treatment trials, to studies addressing social and behavioral aspects of Alzheimer’s and other dementia. They have enabled significant advances across the research spectrum in such areas as diagnosis, genetics, treatments, prevention, early detection and enhancing the quality of life.

With confirmation, these findings have the potential to significantly impact public health — improving brain health, lowering health care costs and reducing caregiver burden — especially among older adults. Individuals should always talk with their health care provider(s) about the benefits and risks of all dietary supplements, including multivitamins before incorporating them into their daily diet.

The Alzheimer’s Association is leading the U.S. POINTER study, a two-year clinical trial to evaluate whether lifestyle interventions that target multiple risk factors can protect cognition in older adults at increased risk for cognitive decline. U.S. POINTER is being conducted right now at five sites across the U.S. For more information, visit https://alz.org/us-pointer/overview.asp.