Scientists from Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School found that taking a daily multivitamin for up to three years can delay cognitive brain aging by two years.
Researchers have found a drugstore multivitamin that can keep your brain young, slowing cognitive decline associated with aging by as much as two years.
According to Time, scientists from Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School compared Centrum Silver users 60 years or older to placebo users, publishing the study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
The National Institutes of Health and Mars Edge, a branch of the food company Mars Inc., funded the study. Haleon, the company that makes Centrum, supplied the vitamins; none of these parties had any input into the study’s design or analysis.
“These findings of consistent benefit of a multivitamin in three separate placebo-controlled studies are compelling and exciting,” said the study’s co-director, Dr. JoAnn Manson. “They could even be considered stunning.”
Two earlier studies in the trial series that assessed participants over two to three years through phone or web interviews indicated that people who took a daily multivitamin outperformed those taking a placebo on cognitive tests.
The scientists saw the same advantage in this most recent trial, where the research team assessed 573 participants in person. According to Time, when all three trials — which included over 5,000 volunteers — are considered collectively, they demonstrate that taking a daily multivitamin for up to three years can delay cognitive brain aging by two years.
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Manson said the results of the three trials on various cognitive exams —which tested memory abilities including recognizing animals and vegetables, subtracting numbers backward, and memorizing word lists both instantly and after a lapse — showed varying improvement levels and significant memory-related advantages.
The findings provide a foundation for future research on how vitamins and other nutrients, particularly the 20 essential micronutrients found in most multivitamins, can maintain brain function.
Scientists will also investigate whether some nutrients, such as zinc, lutein, vitamin B12, vitamin D, and vitamin E, become more crucial for the brain as people age. Research has indicated that an aging population tends to have reduced skin-based vitamin D synthesis and decreased absorption of vitamin B12.
Manson noted the results do not suggest replacing a balanced diet and way of living.
“By no means does this say that people can be complacent about their diet and just pop a pill,” added Manson, Time reported. “But it is possible that a multivitamin could have a complementary role to a healthy diet and lifestyle because it includes a comprehensive array of essential vitamins and minerals, and if someone does have a deficiency in any of them, it can be of benefit.”
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