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Multivitamins can be a useful tool to fill any nutritional gaps in your diet.
New research suggests that daily use of multivitamins can improve memory in older adults.
Look for a high-quality multivitamin that is third-party tested for purity, potency, and safety.
Multivitamins aren’t a miracle cure, but they can act as a “diet insurance plan” to help you fill in the gaps with your eating habits. Especially if you have certain food allergies, dietary restrictions, or medical conditions that affect how and what you eat, taking a multivitamin can be crucial for people who are chronically deficient in key nutrients. But this popular supplement can do so much more. A new study has found that daily use of multivitamins may play a role in improving memory.
The study, published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, looked at data collected from more than 3,500 seniors, ages 60 and older. The researchers randomly assigned participants a daily multivitamin supplement (they used Centrum Silver) or a placebo. Participants were evaluated annually for three years with a series of online neuropsychological tests, but keep in mind that neither the study participants nor the researchers knew what type of pills the participants were being given.
At the end of the one-year period, those taking the multivitamin had significantly better scores on a test evaluating immediate recall than the placebo group. This was also demonstrated during the three-year follow-up. But interestingly, improvements were also seen in individuals with heart disease.
At the start of the study, participants with a history of heart disease scored lower on memory tests than those without heart disease. But after just a year of taking a daily multi, people with a history of heart disease saw significant improvements in memory compared to those without the disease.
But this isn’t the first time that multivitamin use has been associated with improved cognitive function. Findings from another NIH-supported study published in 2022 found that daily use of multivitamins improved measures of cognitive function in older adults age 65 and older. The improvements were also more noticeable in participants with a history of heart disease.
Another study, published in Nutrients on June 9, it also showed some compelling benefits of daily multivitamin supplementation. Although a smaller study, this research by Oregon State University scientists in healthy men ages 68 and older found that those who took a daily multivitamin (also Centrum Silver) over the course of six months saw improvements significant in nutritional biomarkers compared to those treated with a placebo.
What does a multivitamin do for your body?
Multivitamins are a type of supplement that typically contains a combination of vitamins and minerals, and sometimes other added functional ingredients. Brands can determine how much and what types of vitamins, minerals and other ingredients are placed in their multivitamin product. But in general, most multivitamins contain all or most of the vitamins and minerals in amounts close to those recommended.
They are not designed to replace eating a variety of nutritious foods, as whole foods provide a package of vitamins, minerals, fiber and other beneficial compounds to support overall health. But even the healthiest diets filled with tons of fruits and vegetables may require supplementation of certain vitamins and minerals.
What should I look for in a multivitamin?
Because the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not approve dietary supplements for safety and efficacy before they are released to the market, it is incredibly important to thoroughly research each supplement you add to your regimen and talk to your doctor before to do it. Look for options that have been tested for purity, potency, and safety by a reputable third-party organization.
Our team of registered dietitians have spent months analyzing over 100 multivitamins to bring you our top recommendations for the best multivitamins on the market.
The bottom line: Emerging research suggests that daily use of multivitamins may support memory, cognition function and nutritional biomarkers. While a multi shouldn’t replace a nutritious, balanced diet, it can be a tool to help you fill in any potential nutritional gaps. Look for high-quality options that have been third-party tested for purity, potency, and safety, as multivitamins and all supplements aren’t FDA-approved before they hit store shelves.
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