A daily multivitamin and mineral supplement with added herbal ingredients may boost episodic memory in older men, suggest data from a randomized controlled trial from Australia.
Eight weeks of supplementation with the commercial product Swisse Men's Ultivite containing vitamins, mineral, antioxidants, and plant extracts were associated with improved contextual recognition memory, a measure of episodic memory, according to findings published in Human Psychopharmacology: Clinical and Experimental .
The study supports similar results from the same researchers in women. As reported by NutraIngredients-USA last week , 16 weeks of supplementation with the commercial product Swisse Women’s Ultivite 50+ were linked with improvements in performance accuracy and enhance neural efficiency (Physiology & Behavior )
“Taken together with the findings from other recent studies that have identified cognitive benefits of multivitamins in middle aged to elderly adults, there is growing evidence that daily multivitamin supplementation may be useful for the amelioration of cognitive decline,” wrote researchers led by Helen Macpherson from the Centre for Human Psychopharmacology at Swinburne University in Melbourne, Australia.
“Furthermore, this study indicates that improvements to B vitamin status and levels of homocysteine can be achieved following an 8-week multivitamin supplementation.”
The study, funded by Swisse Vitamins Pty Ltd
Macpherson and her co-workers recruited 51 men aged between 50 and 74 to participate in their placebo-controlled, double-blind trial. The men were randomly assigned to receive the daily multivitamin or placebo for eight weeks. The placebo tablets were identical in appearance and contained starch and 2 mg of riboflavin to give them a comparable smell and to produce similarly colored urine.
Results from a computerized battery of cognitive tasks showed that contextual recognition memory performance was significantly improved for men in the multivitamin group
On the other hand, no changes were recorded for the other cognitive tasks.
Blood samples showed that vitamin B12 and folate levels increased in the multivitamin group, while levels of the amino acid homocysteine were reduced.
Previously, epidemiological studies have reported that high levels of homocysteine are associated with suspected or confirmed dementia. Indeed, the Framingham study reported that people with homocysteine levels above 14 micromoles per liter of serum had twice the risk of dementia.
Commenting on the potential mechanism, the Australian scientists noted that B vitamins may influence neurotransmitter production, and they may also assist in “rescuing brain cell metabolism that is critical in maintaining neuronal health”.
Other components of the supplement may also contribute to the potential cognitive benefits, including vitamins C and E, and the herbs G. biloba and Panax ginseng.
Source: Human Psychopharmacology: Clinical and Experimental
Volume 27, Issue 4, pages 370-377
“Effects of a multivitamin, mineral and herbal supplement on cognition and blood biomarkers in older men: a randomised, placebo-controlled trial”
Authors: E. Harris, H. Macpherson, L. Vitetta, J. Kirk, A. Sali, A. Pipingas