The Promising Potential of Multivitamins in Cognitive Health

A recent study, pivotal in the field of cognitive health, has provided compelling evidence that daily multivitamin supplements can enhance memory and decelerate cognitive aging in older adults. This research, conducted by Mass General Brigham and published on January 18, 2024, in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, marks a significant milestone in understanding cognitive preservation strategies.

The Promising Potential of Multivitamins in Cognitive Health 1


The study, part of the large-scale COcoa Supplement and Multivitamin Outcomes Study (COSMOS), involved 573 participants who underwent in-person cognitive assessments. Researchers conducted a detailed meta-analysis across three separate cognition studies within COSMOS, encompassing over 5,000 participants. Their findings revealed a statistically significant benefit for cognition among participants taking the multivitamin compared to a placebo. “Cognitive decline is among the top health concerns for most older adults, and a daily supplement of multivitamins has the potential as an appealing and accessible approach to slow cognitive aging,” said Chirag Vyas, MBBS, MPH, the study’s first author.

Unveiling the Impact of Multivitamins on Memory and Aging

Detailed Analysis and Encouraging Outcomes

In this specific segment of the COSMOS trial, known as COSMOS-Clinic, researchers observed a modest benefit for global cognition over two years with multivitamin use compared to placebo. Notably, there was a significant improvement in episodic memory. “The meta-analysis of three separate cognition studies provides strong and consistent evidence that taking a daily multivitamin helps prevent memory loss and slow down cognitive aging,” Vyas emphasized.

Implications for Older Adults and Future Research

These findings hold considerable significance for the aging population. Olivia Okereke, MD SM, senior author of the report, noted, “These findings will garner attention among many older adults who are, understandably, very interested in ways to preserve brain health, as they provide evidence for the role of a daily multivitamin in supporting better cognitive aging.” The study estimates that daily multivitamin usage could slow global cognitive aging by the equivalent of two years compared to placebo.

Broadening the Horizons of Cognitive Health Research

The overall COSMOS trial, led by JoAnn Manson, MD, DrPH, and Howard Sesso, ScD, MPH, represents a crucial collaboration involving institutions like Columbia University and Wake Forest University. The diversity of cognitive assessment methods used in the study enhances its validity and applicability. “With these three studies…it is now critical to understand the mechanisms by which a daily multivitamin may protect against memory loss and cognitive decline,” added Sesso.

In conclusion, this research provides robust evidence supporting the use of daily multivitamins as a practical, safe, and effective approach to maintaining cognitive health in older adults, highlighting the importance of nutritional status and other aging-related factors in cognitive

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