Data from a 76 women revealed that a single dose of the commercial product Swisse Women’s Ultivite 50+ containing vitamins, mineral, antioxidants, and plant extracts was associated with overall mood ratings on the depression anxiety stress scale (DASS), scientists from Swinburne University and Deakin University report in the journal Age.
The most significant effects were observed for perceived mental stress, said the researchers, led by Dr Helen Macpherson.
On the other hand, no benefits for cognition were observed for the women after a single dose.
The study extends earlier work from the same researchers, which did find cognitive benefits for performance accuracy and enhance neural efficiency in older women after 16 weeks of supplementation with the same Ultivite 50+ product.
Similar results were observed for older men, with eight weeks of daily supplementation with a multivitamin and mineral supplement with added herbal ingredients linked to improvements in episodic memory, according to a 2012 paper published in Human Psychopharmacology: Clinical and Experimental.
The study was funded by Swisse Wellness.
“A number of randomized controlled trials have indicated that multivitamin/mineral supplementation for a period of 4 weeks or greater can enhance mood and cognition,” wrote Dr Macpherson and her co-workers. “To date, no studies have investigated whether a single multivitamin dose can benefit mental function in older adults.”
To fill the scientific gap, Dr Macpherson and her co-workers recruited health women aged between 50 and 75 to participate in their randomized controlled trial. The women were randomly assigned to receive a single multivitamin and mineral and herbal (MVMH) supplement or placebo. Women were then asked to self-rate their mood and perform a battery of computerized cognitive tests.
Results showed that, while the single dose had no effect on cognitive results, the MVMH supplement was associated with improvements in overall DASS mood ratings. “These findings were confirmed using visual analogue scales, with these measures also demonstrating MVMH-related increased ratings of calmness,” added the researchers.
The potential mood benefits of chronic multivitamin supplementation have previously been linked to the B vitamin content of the products, and folate, B6 and B12 in particular, because these nutrients have important roles in neurotransmitter synthesis.
On the other hand, poorer mood has been linked to low levels of vitamin D, zinc and selenium.
Commenting on the potential mechanism, Dr Macpherson and her co-authors said that this is unexplored, but that others have proposed that “improved vascular endothelial function and improvements in mitochondrial function serve as a potential mechanism for acute cognitive improvements. For instance, improved vasodilation and blood flow to the brain results in the increased delivery of metabolites to active tissue, leading to improved task performance.
“Without the measurement of blood metabolites in this study, potential mechanisms can only be speculated.”
2015 Jun, Volume 37, Number 3, Page 9782. doi: 10.1007/s11357-015-9782-0
“Acute mood but not cognitive improvements following administration of a single multivitamin and mineral supplement in healthy women aged 50 and above: a randomised controlled trial”
Authors: H. Macpherson, R. Rowsell, K. H. M. Cox, A. Scholey, A. Pipingas