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“Helps promote heart health, supports normal brain function, and maintains healthy eyes in older adults,” says Centrum Silver’s website. Vitamin makers can get away with claims like “promotes,” “supports,” or “maintains” health with only weak evidence. 


But the COSMOS-Mind trial now offers solid evidence that taking Centrum Silver may slow cognitive decline in older people. (Click here for more on that evidence.)

That could be a game-changer, especially if the results are borne out by a new trial, now in the works.

    centrum box
    In a new study, Centrum Silver slowed cognitive decline in older people.
    Lindsay Moyer/CSPI.

    What to do in the meantime? Here’s why taking a multi may make sense: 

    Vitamin B-12

    Anyone over age 50 should get the Recommended Dietary Allowance (2.4 micrograms a day) from a supplement or a food with added B-12, according to the National Academy of Medicine, which sets the RDAs. That’s because some older people make too little stomach acid to digest and absorb the B-12 that occurs naturally in meat, dairy, and eggs. And a B-12 deficiency can cause irreversible nerve damage that can masquerade as dementia.

    Vitamin D

    An estimated 5 percent of Americans have blood vitamin D levels in the “deficient” range, and another 18 percent have “inadequate” levels.

    One reason: It’s tough to get the RDA from food. (The RDA is 600 IU a day up to age 70 and 800 IU over 70.) 

    Your body makes vitamin D from the sun’s UV rays, but not if you wear sunscreen (as you should) and not during the winter in most of the United States. 

    Just don’t go overboard. Taking more than 2,000 IU a day may raise the risk of falls in frail older people. 

    Safety

    You can’t assume that all supplements are safe, but COSMOS-Mind looked for adverse effects from Centrum Silver. 

    “We saw no safety issues at all,” says Laura Baker, professor of gerontology and geriatric medicine at the Wake Forest School of Medicine. Nor did the VITAL trial of vitamin D. 

    Would any multivitamin curb cognitive decline?

    The trials only tested Centrum Silver, so there’s no way to know. One thing is certain: gummies are a bad bet. They often run short on many nutrients.