Vitamins, cocoa & cognitive function

Executive summary

* This week's note looks at something rare in the field of nutrition – a randomised controlled trial (RCT). It was a large (2,262 people) and long (3 years) RCT.

* The trial examined whether cocoa extract and/or a multivitamin-mineral could impact cognitive function.

* It found that cocoa extract had no effect on cognitive performance, but that the multivitamin-mineral did.

* I found reason to doubt the multivitamin-mineral finding and I explain why.

* Even if the finding was robust, it was modest.

* The more interesting finding was that both the placebo and supplement group improved cognitive function during the three years, when decline would have been expected.

* The key takeaway for me, therefore, was that doing cognitive tests, taking a supplement, taking part in a trial – whatever – doing something can result in cognitive improvement, rather than decline, over years.

 

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