New findings from COSMOS trial further validate potential cognitive health benefits of multivitamin supplementation


Over two years, supplementation with multivitamin mineral improved episodic memory and global cognition.

Photo © Wackerhausen

Photo © Wackerhausen

Recent findings taken from a clinic subcohort of the COcoa Supplement and Multivitamin Outcomes Study (COSMOS) randomized clinical trial as well as a meta-analysis of three cognitive studies within COSMOS have been published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.1 COSMOS is a 2 x2 factorial trial investigating the effects of cocoa extract delivering 500 mg of flavanols per day and/or a daily multi-vitamin mineral supplement for cardiovascular disease and cancer prevention among 21,442 United States adults over the age of 60. The subcohort (COSMOS-clinic) in the current publication contained 573 subjects all of whom completed all cognitive tests administered at baseline, and the subsequent meta-analysis included non-overlapping participants across three of the COSMOS substudies. These include the 573 subjects in the COSMOS-clinic subcohort, 2158 from the COSMOS-Mind study, and 2472 from the COSMOS-Web study.

Results showed that over the course of two years, multivitamin mineral supplementation significantly improved episodic memory compared to placebo. Multivitamin mineral supplementation also demonstrated modest improvements in global cognition in the COSMOS-clinic subcohort, while the meta-analysis showed that there was clear evidence supplementation benefited global cognition and episodic memory. The magnitude of the effect supplementation had on global cognition was equivalent to reducing cognitive aging by two years, said the researchers.

"CRN is impressed by this recently published research further demonstrating the benefits of multivitamin supplementation on memory and cognitive aging,” said Luke Huber, vice president, scientific and regulatory affairs for the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN; Washington, D.C.), in a statement. “CRN agrees with the study authors that the results are stunning and consistent. CRN’s annual survey finds that 74 percent of Americans use dietary supplements, most frequently a multivitamin. These results should strengthen consumer confidence in the value of daily multivitamin supplementation."

“Even individuals with the healthiest diets often fail to reach the recommended daily intake level for vitamins and nutrients. As we age, achieving this goal becomes even more important to protect memory and brain function. With an urgent need to identify strategies to preserve memory and thinking abilities in older adults and reduce the burden of cognitive decline on families and society, these results are certainly important, as they show how supplements can support certain aging adults in meeting their daily nutrient needs for better cognitive function – a critical part of healthy aging for the mind and body," commented CHPA senior vice president of Dietary Supplements, Duffy MacKay, in a statement. “While there is no proven prevention or treatment for cognitive decline, scientific evidence grows in increments, and seeing positive results emerge from this study once again reinforces the beneficial role safe, accessible, and affordable vitamins and supplements can play in optimizing health through responsible self-care.”

You can learn more about the COSMOS trial by listening to this interview with Dr. James Griffiths, senior vice president of international and scientific affairs at CRN, who was a participant in the study. He shares his experience of participating in the study and the significance of the research.


  1. Vyas, C.M.; Manson, J.E.; Sesso, H.D.; Cook, N.R.; Rist, P.M.; Weinberg, A.; Moorthy, M.V.; Baker, L.D.; et al. Effect of Multivitamin-Mineral Supplementation Versus Placebo on Cognitive Function: Results From The Clinic Subcohort of the COcoa Supplement and Multivitamin Outcomes Study (COSMOS) Randomized Clinical Trial and Meta-Analysis of 3 Cognitive Studies Within COSMOS. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2023. Article ASAP. DOI: 10.1016/j.ajcnut.2023.12.011

Updated 1/23/24 at 12:54PM

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