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Taking a daily multivitamin may be linked to improved brain function in older adults, a new study suggests, and the benefits appear to be even greater in people with cardiovascular disease.

The findings didn’t surprise the researchers — rather, they shocked them, said study author Laura Baker. Professor of Gerontology and Geriatric Medicine at Wake Forest University in North Carolina.

“I have to use the word ‘shocked,'” Baker said.

The researchers — from Wake Forest University School of Medicine in collaboration with Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston — analyzed cognitive function in older adults assigned to take a cocoa supplement containing flavonoids, a multivitamin, or a placebo. years. No one, not even the researchers, will know which routine was assigned until the results are revealed.

“In fact, we believe that cocoa extract may have some cognitive benefits based on previous reports of cardiovascular benefits. So we’re looking for that big reveal in our data analysis — and it’s not cocoa extract that has cognitive benefits, but multivitamins,” Baker said. We are delighted that they have found – a simple, accessible, safe and inexpensive intervention that provides coverage to prevent cognitive decline.”

But she added that she and her team aren’t ready to recommend that older adults immediately add a daily multivitamin to their routine based on these results alone.

The findings were published on Wednesday Alzheimer’s and Dementia: Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association, are not accurate and cannot be disclosed to the public. More research is needed to confirm them.

“It’s too soon to make these recommendations,” Baker said. “I feel like we need to do this in another study.”

The new study included 2,262 people, 65 and older, who were enrolled between August 2016 and August 2017 and followed for three years. Participants completed telephone tests annually to assess their cognitive function. Among other tests, they scored on verbal fluency and numeracy and memorizing stories.

The researchers analyzed function based on test results among those who took daily cocoa extract compared to placebo and among those who took a daily multivitamin compared to placebo.

The researchers found that taking the multivitamin for three years reduced cognitive aging by 1.8 years, or 60%, compared to a placebo. Daily cocoa supplementation did not affect cognitive function for three years, the researchers wrote.

The study – supported by the National Institute on Aging of the National Institutes of Health – also found that multivitamins are beneficial for older adults with cardiovascular disease.

It is known that people with cardiovascular problems may have low blood levels of vitamins and minerals. “So supplementing with those vitamins and minerals can improve cardiovascular health and, in turn, cognitive health — and we know there’s a strong connection between cardiovascular health and brain health,” said Dr. Keith Vossel, professor of neurology and neurology. Director of the Mary S. Easton Center for Alzheimer’s Research and Care University of California, Los Angeles.

Thanks to that link between cardiovascular health and brain health, taking steps to prevent cardiovascular disease or other chronic diseases — such as a healthy diet and exercise — can also benefit the brain, said Vossel, who was not involved in the new study.

“If we can actually avoid or actually prevent chronic diseases, we can prevent dementia,” he said. “Approximately Up to 40% of dementia is preventable. Using the best preventive measures throughout life.

The specific factors driving this link between multivitamins and cognitive function are unclear and require more research, but Baker and her team think the findings may be related to the way multivitamins benefit people with deficiencies. Microelements Such as vitamin C, vitamin E, magnesium or zinc.

“With aging, the situation can get worse. Many of our seniors are malnourished for a variety of reasons,” Baker said.

“As we get older, we are more likely to have health conditions that can affect our micro-intellectual deficits,” she said. “The drugs we take for these diseases can affect the adequacy of micronutrients by interfering with the body’s ability to absorb these essential nutrients from the diet.”

Other studies have had mixed results on the link between certain vitamins and supplements and dementia, Vossel cautioned.

“We’ve gone before with vitamins and dementia research. For many years, dementia specialists have been recommending vitamin E based on some early promising results. Vitamin E and perceptionEspecially those with Alzheimer’s disease. But since then the results have been mixed,” Vossel said.

Older people should talk to their primary care physician before starting vitamins, he said.

“Supplementation is usually safe, but should be monitored carefully, especially for those with memory loss, because overdosing on vitamins can be very dangerous,” Vossel said. “Overdosing on vitamin E or even taking high doses of vitamin E increases the risk of bleeding. So these are some of the issues. ”

Overall, the new study’s findings are encouraging, said Heather Snyder, vice president of medical and scientific communications. Alzheimer’s Association.

“There’s definitely follow-up work we need to look at — especially independent validation in studies in large, diverse populations — but this is encouraging,” she said. “More research needs to be done to understand the potential benefits of multivitamins.”

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