Cognitive decline is part of aging in everyone. In severe cases, it would increase the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, which affect many cognitive functions, such as memory, judging, or thinking.
Scientists are still trying to determine which factors would affect cognitive function and which measures can be taken to prevent cognitive decline.
Recently, a study done by researchers from the United States examined the effects of cocoa extract and multivitamin on cognitive function in the elderly. Results were published in Alzheimer’s & Dementia, the journal of the Alzheimer’s association.
IT was a randomized clinical trial with more than 2000 participants, who are at least 65 years old. All of them need to meet certain eligibility criteria, such as no allergies to caffeine or cocoa products, no serious disease, and no history of heart conditions.
At the beginning of the research, the authors determined a baseline for cognitive function of participants. In addition, they examined their thinking, recalling, and focusing capabilities annually for a period of three years.
Results indicate that cocoa extract did not have any effect on cognitive function. Nevertheless, multivitamin intake was linked to better cognitive, episodic memory, and executive function. The most significant association was seen in those with heart conditions.
Specifically, older people witnessed a great improvement in cognitive function after taking multivitamin supplements on a daily basis. Only 10 percent of participants reported heart problems after joining the research. While the link is significant, more studies in large samples should be done before a recommendation would be made.
Cognitive function and multivitamin intake are significantly positively correlated. However, the link is much stronger in the elderly. This may suggest that sufficient consumption of essential nutrients plays an important part in brain health in older people, particularly those with existing cardiovascular conditions.
Despite positive findings, there are still some limitations in this study. For instance, the data came from participants’ self-reporting, which may be prone to errors in collecting data.
The research only included certain ethnicities or races, which do not represent the general population. Thus, it is not possible to generalize the research’s findings. More studies in the future should focus on diverse groups of participants with a larger sample.
Overall, the results of this study suggest a potentially safe, affordable, and accessible approach to protect the elderly against cognitive decline. However, the underlying mechanism is still not fully understood.