Not many effective approaches have been demonstrated in randomized clinical studies for improving memory or slowing cognitive decline in older individuals. Nutritional treatments could play a significant part since the brain needs several nutrients for optimum health, and being deficient in some of these nutrients could accelerate cognitive decline.
Results from the COSMOS-Web study, 1 of 2 studies that tested the supplementation of multivitamins on cognitive function, show that supplementing daily multivitamins in comparison to a placebo helped improve memory in individuals.
The study is the 2nd from the COSMOS research, together with the earlier published COSMOS-Mind, to discover memory function improvements in individuals taking a multivitamin.
The results from the 2 separate COSMOS studies that found a daily multivitamin improves memory and slows cognitive decline indicate that multivitamin supplementation could be an accessible, safe, and affordable strategy for helping to protect against cognitive health in older individuals.
With these 2 studies on cognition available for COSMOS, and more in the future, it’s important to understand how supplementing with multivitamins could protect against cognitive decline and memory loss.
The COSMOS-Web trial included over 3,500 individuals 60 years and older who completed web-based cognition and memory assessments each year over 3 years. In comparison to the placebo group, individuals randomized to supplementing multivitamins performed significantly better on memory tests at the 1-year time point, with benefits maintained over the follow-up of 3 years.
The multivitamin treatment was estimated to improve memory performance by roughly the same as 3.1 years in comparison to the placebo group. Both COSMOS studies also indicated that the individuals who experienced the most benefits could be those with a cardiovascular disease history.
Because of the innovative approach of evaluating cognitive outcomes by making use of internet-based tests, the researchers were able to look at the impact of a multivitamin in thousands of individuals. The results are promising and pave the way for essential follow-up studies regarding the effects of multivitamin supplements on cognition.
The majority of older adults are concerned about memory changes that take place with aging. The study indicates that multivitamin supplementation could be an inexpensive and simple way for older individuals to delay memory loss.
The COSMOS-Web study results confirm previous results from the COSMOS-Mind study associating daily multivitamin supplementation with cognitive decline delay. The COSMOS-Mind study tested 2,200 older individuals for 3 years and demonstrated that randomized allocation to daily multivitamin supplementation was linked to a 60% delay in global cognitive aging in comparison to a placebo, comparable to 1.8 years decrease in cognitive decline.
Although the COSMOS-Web study offers evidence that multivitamin supplements have cognitive benefits, additional research will be needed to determine the specific nutrients that contribute the most to this as well as the underlying mechanisms concerned.
More studies are also necessary to determine if the results apply to a more diverse population with lower socioeconomic status and lower educational levels.
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