Denver, CO

Cocoa extract doesn’t help cognition, but daily multivitamins might

Claire Cleveland

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Daily multivitamins may help slow cognitive decline.Photo by Anna Shvets / Pexels

By Claire Cleveland / NewBreak

(Denver, CO) Daily multivitamin-mineral use may improve cognition, memory and executive functioning in older adults, according to a new study published by the Alzheimer’s Association.

“This is the first positive, large-scale, long-term study to show that multivitamin-mineral supplementation for older adults may slow cognitive aging,” said Maria C. Carrillo, Alzheimer’s Association chief science officer. “While the Alzheimer’s Association is encouraged by these results, we are not ready to recommend widespread use of a multivitamin supplement to reduce risk of cognitive decline in older adults.”

The study, published in Alzheimer’s & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association, compared the effects of cocoa extract, which contains flavanols that might slow cognitive decline, with the effects of a daily multivitamin-mineral supplement. The daily use of cocoa extract had no impact on cognition.

While the results are exciting and show that there may be other options to help maintain cognitive health, Carrillo said it’s best to consult your physician before starting a multivitamin regimen.

“For now, and until there is more data, people should talk with their health care providers about the benefits and risks of all dietary supplements, including multivitamins,” Carrillo said. “Independent confirmatory studies are needed in larger, more diverse study populations. It is critical that future treatments and preventions are effective in all populations.”

The study ultimately shows a future where multiple treatments and risk reduction strategies will be available to address cognitive aging and dementia, which excites Carrillo. The Alzheimer’s Association’s mission is to end Alzheimer’s and all other dementia by supporting global research, promoting risk reduction and early detection. The study results are hopeful.

The study, “Effects of cocoa extract and a multivitamin on cognitive function: a randomized clinical trial,” covered more than 2,200 older adults over three years and compared the effects of cocoa extract and multivitamin use with a placebo.

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Claire Cleveland is a Denver-based freelance writer with a background in health and science reporting. She's covered the pandemic extensively and local news in Colorado. Previously, Claire was a reporter and producer for Colorado Public Radio.

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