Taking a daily multivitamin supplement can slow age-related memory decline, finds a large study led by researchers at Columbia University and Brigham and Women’s Hospital/Harvard.
More than 3,500 adults (mostly non-Hispanic white) over age 60 were randomly assigned to take a daily multivitamin supplement or placebo for three years. At the end of each year, participants performed a series of online cognitive assessments at home designed to test memory function of the hippocampus, an area of the brain that is affected by normal aging. The COSMOS-Web study is part of a large clinical trial led by Brigham & Women’s Hospital and Harvard called the COcoa Supplement and Multivitamin Outcomes Study (COSMOS).
By the end of the first year, memory improved for people taking a daily multivitamin, compared with those taking a placebo. The researchers estimate the improvement, which was sustained over the three-year study period, was equivalent to about three years of age-related memory decline. The effect was more pronounced in participants with underlying cardiovascular disease.