Vitamin and Mineral Supplementation for Maintaining Cognitive Functioning in Cognitively Healthy Adults

Cochrane Systematic Review – Intervention Version published: 17 December 2018

Vitamins and minerals play multiple functions within the central nervous system which may help to maintain brain health and optimal cognitive functioning. Supplementation of the diet with various vitamins and minerals has been suggested as a means of maintaining cognitive function, or even of preventing dementia, in later life.

To evaluate the effects of vitamin and mineral supplementation on cognitive function in cognitively healthy people aged 40 years or more.

In total,  28 studies with more than 83,000 participants were included . There were some general limitations of the evidence. Most participants were enrolled in studies which were not designed primarily to assess cognition. 

Authors’ conclusions: We did not find evidence that any vitamin or mineral supplementation strategy for cognitively healthy adults in mid or late life has a meaningful effect on cognitive decline or dementia, although the evidence does not permit definitive conclusions. There were very few data on supplementation starting in midlife (< 60 years); studies designed to assess cognitive outcomes tended to be too short to assess maintenance of cognitive function; longer studies often had other primary outcomes and used cognitive measures which may have lacked sensitivity. The only positive signals of effect came from studies of long-term supplementation with antioxidant vitamins. These may be the most promising for further research.

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