Research findings about vitamin supplements are about as fickle as research on the impact coffee has on our health. One year it's slightly harmful. The next, our body does not even notice its presence. Then the exciting year comes around when we have decided it's healthy.
That year has come around for multivitamins.
The results from early clinical trials, which will require a lot of future research to confirm or disprove, is suggesting that, for folks over 65, a daily multivitamin might delay cognitive decline.
The findings were announced in Boston at the Clinical Trials on Alzheimer's Disease conference along with the hopes that the findings are confirmed by future research as this would give the aging another weapon in the prevention of cognitive decline.
Kaitlin Sullivan with NBC News, in an article announcing this research, cautioned that "a previous large clinical trial in men found that taking a multivitamin did not appear to improve cognitive functioning".
2,200 seniors over 65, with no signs of Alzheimer's or dementia, took part in the study. Researches were also looking to see what impact, if any, cocoa extract might have on cardiovascular disease, which is closely linked to cognitive decline. Cocoa extract seems to do nothing beneficial on this count.
Some of those on the multivitamin who had cardiovascular disease when the trial began saw improvements that kept pace with those not beginning with heart disease. In the meantime, those on the placebo continued to decline.
We might be a long way from the final verdict as the score seems to be tied at 1. The results from this study, called COSMOS, appears to contradict the results of a study done between 1997 and 2011. In that study, involving 6,000 men, the results showed that multivitamins had no impact on cognitive decline.
One thing that researchers and doctors are sure about is that a healthy diet and staying active, both physically and socially, has a far greater impact on brain health than a multivitamin.
Dr. Michael Greger, author of the best-selling book How Not to Die, has compiled enormous amounts of research which shows that a plant-based diet which includes nuts, berries, seeds, and certain spices is the healthiest diet for the heart - being even more impactful than some heart medications. Poor heart health is connected to many other ailments, including cognitive decline.
Replacing meat and sugar with smoothies that are heavy on the blueberries likely has more health benefits than any vitamin supplement on the market.