Washington, D.C.—The ancillary study of theCocoa Supplement and Multivitamin Outcomes Study for the Mind(COSMOS-Mind) study, conducted by the Wake Forest University School of Medicine in collaboration with Brigham and Women’s Hospital, has been published inAlzheimer’s & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association. The research reveals statistically significant improvement on global cognition in participants who took a multivitamin over the course of the long-term clinical trial.

A Look at the COSMOS-Mind Study

Andrea Wong, Ph.D., Senior Vice President, Scientific and Regulatory Affairs of the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), outlined the research. Key points:
  • COSMOS-Mind was funded by the National Institute on Aging of the National Institutes of Health. It was an ancillary study to the COSMOS trial led by Brigham and Women’s Hospital that randomized 21,442 men and women across the U.S.
  • The study investigated whether taking a daily cocoa extract supplement or a daily multivitamin-mineral supplement reduces the risk of developing heart disease, stroke, cancer, and other health outcomes.
  • Participants using a multivitamin, relative to placebo, experienced a statistically significant benefit on global cognition. This effect was most pronounced in those with a history of cardiovascular disease.
  • Multivitamin-mineral benefits were also observed for memory and executive function.
  • In COSMOS-Mind, researchers tested whether daily administration of cocoa extract versus placebo and a multivitamin-mineral versus placebo improved cognition in older adults. More than 2,200 participants, ages 65 and older, enrolled and were followed for three years. Participants completed tests over the telephone at baseline and annually to evaluate memory and other cognitive abilities.

CRN, CHPA Weigh in on Cognitive Benefits

“This study adds to the body of evidence showing promise for various roles of multivitamins in health," said Dr. Wong. "Research has already established that multivitamins can help to fill nutrient gaps. Beyond this, thePhysicians’ Health Study II, a large-scale clinical trial, showed an 8% reduction in overall cancer risk in older male physicians who took a daily multivitamin as well as a significant decrease in cataract risk. The COSMOS-Mind study provides evidence that daily multivitamin consumption may benefit cognitive function in older men and women. With further research, the full potential for multivitamins in protecting and enhancing health could be realized."

Duffy MacKay, Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA) Senior Vice President of Dietary Supplements, also commented on the findings. “The promising results of this clinical trial—showing improved global cognition, episodic memory, and executive function in older adults after three years of daily multivitamin-mineral use—provides first-time evidence that dietary supplementation can be effective in helping older consumers protect and improve cognition."

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MacKay noted that while there is no proven prevention or treatment for cognitive decline, "we know that science grows in increments, and this study is one step toward reinforcing the beneficial role of a safe, accessible, and affordable dietary supplement that can be used to optimize health through self-care.”