Taking a daily multivitamin tablet could keep the brain sharp for an extra two years, research has suggested.
Typically, a daily multivitamin will contain vitamins A, C, D, E and K, as well as a range of B vitamins and nutrients like calcium, iron, magnesium, and potassium. More than 2,200 participants aged 65 and older enrolled and were followed for three years. The study found that those taking the supplement for three years saw a significant reduction in cognitive decline.
Overall, the US research said the pills appeared to slow the decline by about 60 percent - equating to 1.8 years. The findings raise hopes that vitamins could help to stave off dementia. Cognitive decline can be a precursor or sign of Alzheimer’s disease, but this is not always the case.
Experts said the results were the first positive, large-scale, long-term study to show that multivitamin-mineral supplementation for older adults may slow cognitive decline. Until now, evidence about the impact of multivitamins on the brain has been limited, with most major trials so far suggesting they have little impact.
It is also hard to fully account for the fact that those taking them may be more likely to have other advantages. Researchers stressed that more studies are needed before any recommendations are made.
The findings were published in the journal Alzheimer’s and Dementia.
Commenting on the research, Maria C Carrillo, chief science officer at the Alzheimer’s Association in the US, said: “This is the first positive, large-scale, long-term study to show that multivitamin-mineral supplementation for older adults may slow cognitive ageing.