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Daily Multivitamin Use and Cognition in Older Adults

An NIA-funded research team at Wake Forest University School of Medicine aimed to fill the gaps in our understanding of multivitamins and flavanols — compounds found in high levels in unprocessed cocoa — and their effects on cognition.

The study examined more than 2,200 participants, ages 65 and older, who enrolled in the study from August 2016 to August 2017. Participants were given a cocoa extract supplement and/or a multivitamin-mineral supplement daily for three years, or an inactive placebo for comparison. They completed a battery of cognitive tests over the phone at the beginning of the study and once a year afterward.

The team found no difference in global cognition (a wide range of cognitive behaviors) between those who took cocoa extract and those who did not. But participants taking the multivitamin had higher global cognition scores than those who didn’t. Significant improvements with daily multivitamin use were also seen in memory and executive function. The results suggest that a safe and affordable daily multivitamin-mineral supplement might improve cognition in older adults or protect cognitive health with age. However, researchers caution that the results, while promising, are still preliminary.

Learn more about the research study.

Last Updated on January 11, 2023

Published by Chrishun Brown

Communications Manager for the Rush Alzheimer's Disease Center

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