- 60% of the participants were women.
- None of the volunteers took dietary supplements before the study.
- Consumed regularly, the flavanols in cocoa can improve cerebral vasodilation, blood flow and the formation of new vessels.
“Food supplements are touted for cognitive protection, but the supporting evidence is mixed,” said researchers from Wake Forest University in the United States. That’s why they decided to test whether daily administration of a cocoa extract (containing 500 mg/day of flavanols) or multivitamin and mineral supplementation improved cognition in older people.
Multivitamins or cocoa extract against cognitive decline?
For the purposes of work published in the journal Alzheimer’s & Dementia, the scientists followed 2,262 healthy adults, aged 73 on average, for three years. They assessed the cognitive functions of the participants through a telephone interview and tests (remembering lists of words and anecdotes, creating voice notes, verbal fluency, etc.) at the start of the study and each year.
As part of the research, the volunteers were divided into four groups: one took daily cocoa extract and a vitamin preparation that contained vitamins (mainly A, D, K and B9), calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, chromium, etc. Members of the second group were to take cocoa extract and a placebo. In the third group, the participants used the placebo and the vitamin preparation. As for the last group, it took only the placebo.
Taking a vitamin preparation would reduce the risk of dementia
According to the results, cocoa extract had no effect on cognition in seniors. In contrast, daily multivitamin intake had a significant beneficial effect on cognitive function in older adults. “This effect was more pronounced in participants with a history of cardiovascular disease,” can we read in the searches. According to the authors, the benefits of vitamin and mineral supplementation have been observed for memory and executive functions.
“This study provides the first evidence of a large, long-term trial to show the effectiveness of multivitamin supplementation to improve cognition in older adults. Further work is needed to confirm these results. “, concluded the team.