Study shows a daily multivitamin improves memory, slows brain aging

A team of researchers at Mass General hospital discovered “consistent and statistically-significant benefits” of taking a daily multivitamin versus placebo to improve memory and global cognition.

It was the third such study to confirm similar outcomes.

The current study consisted of 573 people who were first administered detailed, in-person cognitive assessments. Then, patients took either a placebo pill or one consisting of cocoa extracts and multivitamin supplements every day for two years.

The analysis showed showed strong evidence of benefits for both global cognition and episodic memory, according to Mass General.

“The meta-analysis of three separate cognition studies provides strong and consistent evidence that taking a daily multivitamin, containing more than 20 essential micronutrients, helps prevent memory loss and slows down cognitive aging,” said Chirag Vyas, an instructor in investigation for the Department of Psychiatry.

“The finding that a daily multivitamin improved memory and slowed cognitive aging in three separate placebo-controlled studies is exciting,” added Dr. JoAnn Manson, with Brigham and Women’s Hospital. “It further supports the promise of multivitamins as a safe, accessible and affordable approach to protecting cognitive health in older adults.”

The study was part of a large-scale, nationwide and randomized trial called the COcoa Supplement and Multivitamin Outcomes Study (COSMOS).

Interest is great among researchers as well as seasoned citizens, and for good reason. Mass Gen cited the Alzheimer’s Association in predicting, by 2060, nearly one in four Americans will be in an age bracket at elevated risk of cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease unless interventions can help preserve cognitive function before deficits begin.