Multivitamins, but Not Cocoa, Tied to Slowed Brain Aging
Taking a daily multivitamin for 3 years is associated with a 60% slowing of cognitive aging, with the effects especially pronounced in patients with cardiovascular (CVD) disease, new research suggests.

In addition to testing the effect of a daily multivitamin on cognition the COSMOS-Mind study also examined the effect of cocoa flavonols, but showed no beneficial effect.

The findings "may have important public health implications, particularly for brain health, given the accessibility of multivitamins and minerals, and their low cost and safety", said study investigator.

The findings were presented at the 14th Clinical Trials on Alzheimer's Disease (CTAD) conference.

Placebo-Controlled Study

The study is a substudy of a large parent trial that compared the effects of cocoa extract (500 mg/day cocoa flavanols) and a standard multivitamin-mineral (MVM) to placebo on cardiovascular and cancer outcomes in more than 21,000 older participants.

COSMOS-Mind included 2262 adults aged 65 and over without dementia who underwent cognitive testing at baseline and annually for 3 years. The mean age at baseline was 73 years, and 40.4% were men. Most participants (88.7%) were non-Hispanic white and almost half (49.2%) had some post-college education.

All study groups were balanced with respect to demographics, CVD history, diabetes, depression, smoking status, alcohol intake, chocolate intake and prior multivitamin use. Baseline cognitive scores were also similar between study groups. Researchers had complete data on 77% of study participants.

The primary endpoint was the effect of cocoa extract (CE) vs placebo on Global Cognitive Function composite score. The secondary outcome was the effect of MVM vs placebo on global cognitive function.

Additional outcomes included the impact of supplements on executive function and memory and the treatment effects for prespecified subgroups, including subjects with a history of CVD.

Using a graph of change over time, Baker showed there was no effect of cocoa on global cognitive function. "We see the to-be-expected practice effects, but there's no separation between the active and placebo groups," she said.

It was a different story for MVM. Here, there was the same practice effect, but the graph showed the lines separated for global cognitive function composite score.

"We see a positive effect of multivitamins for the active group relative to placebo, peaking at 2 years and then remaining stable over time," said researchers.

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Nov 13, 2021Like