MIAMI - New research suggests a daily multivitamin supplement could possibly improve cognition in older adults.
Diane Lowe is healthy and active.
At age 79, she's an avid skier and walks five miles a day.
When she heard about a study testing whether a multivitamin could improve her brain health, she wanted to take part.
"With lots of friends dealing with either dementia or Alzheimer's, it was certainly a motivator. Because the more we learn about the health issues and how we can better take care of ourselves, the better we all are," she said.
Laura Baker, Ph.D. at Wake Forest University School of Medicine said, "We found that folks who received the three years of the multivitamin-mineral improved cognition relative to those people who received the placebo."
Researchers estimate taking a daily multivitamin supplement translated to a 60% slowing of cognitive decline.
"People with reported cardiovascular disease appeared to benefit even more with the multivitamin in that it seemed to protect against cardiovascular disease-related cognitive decline," said Dr. Baker.
While researchers study safe and affordable treatments to protect against cognitive decline, experts said it's too soon to recommend multivitamins for prevention.
Heather Snyder is vice president of Medical & Scientific Relations at the Alzheimer's Association.
She said, "Like any medication or any change in our daily life, have that conversation with your health care provider about what might be right for you. Regarding this study, we're really looking forward to seeing independent studies that confirm these results."
After the study, Lowe learned she was taking the multivitamin, not the placebo.
"I take no medication of any kind now, except I do take my multivitamin. I continued with that. I'm physically active, mentally active," she says. Lowe hopes this research will help others keep their brain healthy.
The study also looked at taking a cocoa extract supplement daily, but researchers found it did not have benefits on cognition.
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