Americans spend billions of dollars on supplements each year, and roughly 1 in 3 adults report taking a multivitamin. But there is a debate about whether this helps promote good health.
A team of researchers wanted to assess how a daily multivitamin may influence cognitive aging and memory. They tracked about 3,500 older adults who were enrolled in a randomized controlled trial. One group of participants took a placebo, and another group took a Silver Centrum multivitamin, for three years. The participants also took tests, administered online, to evaluate memory.
At the end of the first year, people taking a multivitamin showed improvements in the ability to recall words. Participants were given lists of words, some related, some not, and asked to remember as many as possible. (List-learning tests assess a person's ability to store and retrieve information.)
People taking the multivitamin were able to recall about a quarter more words, which translates into remembering just a few more words, compared to the placebo group.