Cognitive decline can range from mild cognitive impairment to dementia, a form of decline in abilities severe enough to interfere with daily life.
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia.
In a study from Wake Forest University, scientists found that taking a daily multivitamin help maintain cognitive health with aging and possibly prevent cognitive decline.
They found taking a daily supplement may improve cognition in older adults, but additional studies are needed to confirm these findings before any health recommendations are made.
The study also showed that daily use of a cocoa extract supplement does not benefit cognition.
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, more than 6.5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease, and 1 in 3 seniors die with the disease or another form of dementia.
In the study, the team examined 21,442 men and women across the U.S.
They examined whether taking a daily cocoa extract supplement or a daily multivitamin-mineral supplement reduces the risk of developing heart disease, stroke, cancer and other health outcomes.
According to the team, the cocoa extract is rich in compounds called flavanols, and past research suggests that these compounds may positively impact cognition.
Several micronutrients and minerals are needed to support the normal body and brain function, and deficiencies in older adults may increase the risk for cognitive decline and dementia.
The researchers tested whether daily administration of cocoa extract versus placebo and a multivitamin-mineral versus placebo improved cognition in older adults.
More than 2,200 participants, ages 65 and older, enrolled and were followed for three years.
Participants completed tests over the telephone at baseline and annually to evaluate memory and other cognitive abilities.
The 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.
If you care about brain health, please read studies about how the Mediterranean diet could protect your brain health, and Vitamin B supplements could help reduce dementia risk.
For more information on brain health, please see recent studies about antioxidants that could help reduce dementia risk, and Vitamin D deficiency linked to higher dementia risk.
The study was conducted by Laura D. Baker et al and published in Alzheimer’s & Dementia.
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