Optimal strategy: Good diet improves benefits of supplementation – Swisse study
The findings, published in Nutrients, showed that although the nutrients – in this case, vitamins B1, B6, and B12, have increased in amounts in the body post-supplementation, the benefits of these vitamins on attention varied among individuals.
Analysis shows that individuals taking ‘optimal’ diets showed significant improvement in attention, while no significant benefit was seen in those taking ‘sub-optimal’ diets.
The researchers, from the Swinburne University, Deakin University, Monash University, and Swisse, said that the findings supported the concept of ‘co-nutrient optimisation’ and interdependency of nutrients.
A total of 141 participants were involved in the trial.
The trial used a novel recruitment strategy which involved pre-screening of the participants’ diet quality prior to involving them in the study.
This approach made sure that there would be equal number of participants with a healthy / optimal or unhealthy / sub-optimal diet.
The Australian modification of the Diet Screening Tool was used when screening the participants’ diet.
Participants scoring 60 and above were classified as adhering to an ‘optimal’ diet, while those scoring 59 and lower were classified as adhering to a ‘sub-optimal’ diet.
The researchers anticipated that the benefits of supplementation would be more pronounced in the ‘sub-optimal’ diet group.
During the study, the participants were randomised to take two tablets of the intervention product or the placebo – one tablet each time during their breakfast and lunch.
The intervention product is a multinutrient formula containing B group vitamins, Bacopa monniera, and Ginkgo biloba.
Significant increases in vitamins B1, B6, and B12 levels in the body were reported in the intervention group.
However, this increase in B vitamins levels did not translate to a significant benefit to memory nor attention when compared to the placebo.
There were also relatively modest changes to mood, stress reactivity, and secondary cognitive outcomes, despite the increase in B vitamins levels in the intervention group.
However, analysis by diet sub-group revealed a significant benefit of supplementation for attention in participants receiving ‘optimal diet’.
The researchers said the results have demonstrated the concept of co-nutrient optimisation.
“While we anticipated that those with a ‘sub-optimal’ diet would have poorer baseline nutrient status, and therefore an enhanced response from consuming more nutrients, we in fact saw the opposite effect with those with a pre-existing ‘optimal’ diet achieving attentional benefits from supplementation in comparison to placebo.
“While unexpected, the beneficial effects within the ‘optimal’ diet group supports the concept of ‘co-nutrient optimisation’ which purports that the interdependence of nutrients are an essential consideration when studying nutrient effects.
“In other words, the benefit derived from supplementing with nutrient X is dependent on the optimisation of nutrients W, Y and Z,” the researchers explained.
They concluded that the supplementation with B group vitamins, Bacopa monnieri and Ginkgo biloba has the potential to improve attention, but these benefits may be conditional on the support of a healthy diet.
Investigating the Effects of a Multinutrient Supplement on Cognition, Mood and Biochemical Markers in Middle-Aged Adults with ‘Optimal’ and ‘Sub-Optimal’ Diets: A Randomized Double Blind Placebo Controlled Trial
Authors: Young, L.M et al