There is a lot of controversy at times about the usefulness of taking a multivitamin to help promote good health.
So, researchers from several US universities wanted to evaluate how a daily multivitamin affects cognitive aging and memory. The team of researchers tracked about 3,500 elderly people, where one group of participants was given a placebo, and another group took multivitamin tablets for three years, during which they underwent online tests to assess memory, according to what was published by NPR, an American non-profit media organization. Quoted from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
At the end of the first year, people who took a multivitamin showed an improvement in the ability to remember words. Participants were given lists of words – some related and some unrelated – and asked to remember as many words as possible. Learning list tests assess a person’s ability to store and retrieve information.
The results reported that the people who took the multivitamin could remember about a quarter of the extra words, which translates to remembering a few more words, compared to the placebo group.
“The effect of the vitamin intervention improved memory performance above placebo by the equivalent of 3.1 years of age-related memory change,” the researchers wrote in their paper.
Interesting and surprising
It’s an “interesting” finding, says Dr. Jeffrey Linder, chair of the department of general internal medicine at Northwestern University College of Medicine, who was not involved in the study, expressing reservations about the study’s failure to assess the overall effect on memory, including, for example, executive function. Which is perhaps one of the most important metrics for assessing cognitive function.
The study isn’t the first to show the benefits of a multivitamin, says Dr. Joanne Manson, chief of preventive medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, citing findings from a study, published last year in Alzheimer’s & Dementia, that showed participants who took a daily multivitamin performed significantly better. General in global cognitive function on tests that measure event recall, verbal fluency, and number ordering, as well as executive function.
Prevent cognitive decline
“It’s surprising that the study found such a clear signal of slowing age-related memory loss and cognitive decline,” says Dr. Manson.
The human body and brain require access to many nutrients for optimal health and efficiency. Dr. Manson explains that if a person is deficient in these nutrients, it may affect memory loss or accelerate cognitive decline. Therefore, she recommends taking a multivitamin to help prevent deficiency if a person is not getting all the nutrients they need from their diet.
“It’s important to highlight that a multivitamin will never be a substitute for a healthy diet,” adds Dr. Manson, “since micronutrients are better absorbed through foods than from supplements but could be a more beneficial strategy for older adults.”
And Dr. Linder believes that there is a priority to eating a healthy diet, warning that “taking a lot of certain nutritional supplements that the body may not need is an unjustified excess.”
“Eating a diet that includes plenty of fruits and vegetables is associated with longevity without suffering from many diseases and with improved performance and quality of life,” explains Dr. Linder, noting that there is a lot of scientific research proving that a healthy diet is linked to improving heart health, and when When it comes to protecting cognitive function, current clinical trends demonstrate that elements that are good for the heart are also good for the brain. Dr. Linder confirms that, in connection with healthy aging, he advises his patients to pay attention to good sleep habits, physical activity and a healthy diet.
Dr. Sean Morrison, a geriatrician at Mount Sinai Health in New York, says he wouldn’t promote the use of multivitamins as a way to protect against memory loss. Good for improving cognitive function and memory.
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