Share this to:

Support & Insight for the Autumn of Life

Daily Multivitamins Improve Cognition in Older Adults

Older adults who took a daily multivitamin showed higher scores in global cognition, memory and executive function, researchers found.
vitamins, daily dose, supplement

An NIA-funded research team led by Drs. Laura Baker and Mark Espeland at Wake Forest University School of Medicine launched a study aimed at filling the gaps in our understanding of multivitamins and flavanols — compounds found in high levels in unprocessed cocoa — and their effects on cognition.

Normal brain function requires various vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. Deficiencies in these nutrients may increase the risk for cognitive decline and dementia with age. Yet clinical trials of individual nutrients’ effects on cognition have yielded mixed results. Prior research suggests that flavanols in particular — compounds found in high levels in unprocessed cocoa — might benefit cognition.

Much of that research on flavanols was based on observational studies, rather than clinical trials. And previously, the effects of a multivitamin on cognition in older adults had been studied only in a few short clinical trials (less than 12 months) and a single longer trial that included older male physicians.

The Wake Forest University School of Medicine study examined more than 2,200 participants, ages 65 and older, who enrolled in the study from August 2016 to August 2017. The participants’ average age was 73.

Participants were given a cocoa extract supplement and/or a multivitamin-mineral supplement daily for three years, or an inactive placebo for comparison. They completed a battery of cognitive tests over the phone at the beginning of the study and once a year afterward.

The researchers evaluated participants on global cognition (a wide range of cognitive measures), memory, and executive function (attention, planning, and organization). Results appeared in the journal Alzheimer’s & Dementia on Sept. 14, 2022.

The team found no difference in global cognition (a wide range of cognitive behaviors) between those who took cocoa extract and those who did not. But participants taking the multivitamin had higher global cognition scores than those who didn’t.

The improvement was most pronounced in those with a history of cardiovascular disease.

Significant improvements with daily multivitamin use were also seen in memory and executive function.

The results suggest that a safe and affordable daily multivitamin-mineral supplement might improve cognition in older adults or protect cognitive health with age. However, researchers caution that the results, while promising, are still preliminary.

“It’s too early to recommend daily multivitamin supplementation to prevent cognitive decline,” Baker says. “While these preliminary findings are promising, additional research is needed in a larger and more diverse group of people. Also, we still have work to do to better understand why the multivitamin might benefit cognition in older adults.”

This research was supported in part by NIA grant R01-AG050657.

Source:  National Institute of Aging

Reference: Baker LD, et al. Effects of cocoa extract and a multivitamin on cognitive function: A randomized clinical trialAlzheimers & Dementia. 2022. Epub Sept. 14. doi: 10.1002/alz.12767.

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Hanna Levi Julian

Hanna Levi Julian

Visit Our Pages On:


This site was inspired by my Mom’s autoimmune dementia.

It is a place where we separate out the wheat from the chaffe, the important articles & videos from each week’s river of news. With a new post on Alzheimer’s or dementia appearing on the internet every 7 minutes, the site’s focus on the best information has been a help to many over the past 15 years. Thanks to our many subscribers for your supportive feedback.

The site is dedicated to all those preserving the dignity of the community of people living with dementia.

Peter Berger, Editor


CTE Dementia: Tony Dorsett's Story
Are concussions a given part of playing hard? Watch legend Tony Dorsett share his news and tell his story.
Vascular Dementia Prescription: Sit Less, Move More
Researchers say a lifestyle-only treatment which includes increased physical activity may be the best prescription fo...
Memories Sharpen in Video Game Study
Scientists at UC San Francisco have found a way to reverse some of the negative effects of aging on the brain, using ...


Amazon Books
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
News to Get at the Truth

Subscribe To Our Weekly Newsletter

Enjoy thought-provoking videos & articles
News to Get at the Truth

Subscribe To Our Weekly Newsletter