A daily multivitamin can slow an elderly person’s cognitive decline by two years, a study has suggested.

Since 2016 researchers at Mass General Brigham have led a large-scale, nationwide controlled trial involving more than 21,000 participants over the age of 60, looking at the effects of different lifestyle interventions on memory and decision making. 

Their latest findings, published today in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, honed in on a group of 573 participants who underwent face-to-face cognitive assesments after two to three years spent taking a daily multivitamin.

Participants were given a daily multivitamin and were tracked for two to three years

Participants were given a daily multivitamin and were tracked for two to three years 

Some 272 participants were randomly assigned to the multivitamin group and 301 were put in the placebo group. 

Those given the multivitamin received the Centrum Silver pill, made by Haleon, sold for about 19 cents-a-pill. 

It is aimed at the over-50s, and contains nutrients including vitamin D, calcium and zinc — which are all thought to support brain function. 

Researchers found that those taking the multivitamin saw a ‘statistically significant’ improvement in episodic memory when asked to complete tasks such as recalling a list of words.

Episodic memory is a type of long-term memory that involves conscious recollection of previous everyday events. 

There was less improvement than found in earlier studies for executive function tasks, for example counting backwards.

There is ‘biologic plausibility’ for the findings, the researchers said, as combinations of vitamins and minerals interact with multiple pathways that support cognitive health.

The multivitamin taken by patients is aimed at the over-50s, and contains nutrients including vitamin D, calcium and zinc — which are all thought to support brain function

The multivitamin taken by patients is aimed at the over-50s, and contains nutrients including vitamin D, calcium and zinc — which are all thought to support brain function

Plus, nutritional and micronutrient deficiencies in older adults may elevate risk of cognitive decline.

Lead study author Chirag Vyas said: ‘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 slow down cognitive aging.’

Manufacturers and some scientists have been touting the benefits of supplements for years, with the market already valued at up to $50billion annually in North America alone. 

Estimates suggest about 31 percent of Americans already thought to be at risk of at least one vitamin deficiency.

But many are skeptical of multivitamins’ ability to slow aging in the brain. Experts have previously laid into over-the-counter vitamins saying they may delay people seeing medical treatment. 

Dr Sarah Lock, senior vice-president of the American Association of Retired Persons, previously said: ‘Supplements for brain health appear to be a huge waste of money for the 25 percent of adults over 50 who take them.

‘These people taking these pills are spending between $20 and $60 a month and flushing dollars down the toilet that could be better spent on things that actually improve their brain health.’

You May Also Like

Mothers who have epidurals in childbirth have 35 per cent lower risk of potentially life-threatening complications, study finds

Epidurals can reduce the risk of serious complications for mothers during childbirth,…

Urgent rabies warning as disease-riddled bats are running rampant

State health officials in Illinois have recently extracted rabid bats from two…

Doctor slams bizarre health craze of mums putting potatoes in babies' socks

A host of influencers are tucking potatoes into their own and their…

Warning to millions of Americans prescribed popular hair loss drug, as patients report PERMANENT sex problems that destroys relationships

The healthy 22 year-old who noticed his testicles mysteriously shrinking. The 23…