Memory improvements in elderly women following 16 weeks treatment with a combined multivitamin, mineral and herbal supplement A randomized controlled trial

Centre for Human Psychopharmacology, NICM Collaborative Centre for Neurocognition, Swinburne University of Technology, 427-451 Burwood Road, Hawthorn, Melbourne, VIC, 3122, Australia.
Psychopharmacology (Impact Factor: 3.88). 03/2012; 220(2):351-65. DOI: 10.1007/s00213-011-2481-3
Source: PubMed


There is potential for multivitamin supplementation to improve cognition in the elderly. This randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial was conducted to investigate the effects of 16 weeks multivitamin supplementation (Swisse Women's 50+ Ultivite ®) on cognition in elderly women.
Participants in this study were 56 community dwelling, elderly women, with subjective complaints of memory loss. Cognition was assessed using a computerized battery of memory and attention tasks designed to be sensitive to age-related declines to fluid intelligence, and a measure of verbal recall. Biochemical measures of selected nutrients, homocysteine, markers of inflammation, oxidative stress, and blood safety parameters were also collected. All cognitive and haematological parameters were assessed at baseline and 16 weeks post-treatment.
The multivitamin improved speed of response on a measure of spatial working memory, however benefits to other cognitive processes were not observed. Multivitamin supplementation decreased levels of homocysteine and increased levels of vitamin B(6) and B(12), with a trend for vitamin E to increase. There were no hepatotoxic effects of the multivitamin formula indicating this supplement was safe for everyday usage in the elderly.
Sixteen weeks ssupplementation with a combined multivitamin, mineral and herbal formula may benefit working memory in elderly women at risk of cognitive decline.


Available from: Helen Macpherson
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    • "Finally, and most interestingly, whilst this study was explicitly investigating the potential for vitamins to attenuate cognitive decline in the elderly, there was no evidence of declining performance over the 12 years of the study in either the placebo or multivitamin groups[166]. It is also worth noting that a number of other recent studies have also demonstrated improved psychological or cognitive functioning following products containing multi-vitamins167168169170171, although the interpretation of these studies with regards their vitamin content is limited by the inclusion of multiple herbal extracts at potentially psychoactive levels in the formulations. However, it may be relevant that one of these studies demonstrated a correlation between improved performance in a focussed attention (Stroop) task and changes in blood levels of vitamin B 6 following supplementation[170]. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The B-vitamins comprise a group of eight water soluble vitamins that perform essential, closely inter-related roles in cellular functioning, acting as co-enzymes in a vast array of catabolic and anabolic enzymatic reactions. Their collective effects are particularly prevalent to numerous aspects of brain function, including energy production, DNA/RNA synthesis/repair, genomic and non-genomic methylation, and the synthesis of numerous neurochemicals and signaling molecules. However, human epidemiological and controlled trial investigations, and the resultant scientific commentary, have focused almost exclusively on the small sub-set of vitamins (B₉/B12/B₆) that are the most prominent (but not the exclusive) B-vitamins involved in homocysteine metabolism. Scant regard has been paid to the other B vitamins. This review describes the closely inter-related functions of the eight B-vitamins and marshals evidence suggesting that adequate levels of all members of this group of micronutrients are essential for optimal physiological and neurological functioning. Furthermore, evidence from human research clearly shows both that a significant proportion of the populations of developed countries suffer from deficiencies or insufficiencies in one or more of this group of vitamins, and that, in the absence of an optimal diet, administration of the entire B-vitamin group, rather than a small sub-set, at doses greatly in excess of the current governmental recommendations, would be a rational approach for preserving brain health.
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    • "A further age-related factor is that older adults may have more difficulty absorbing vitamins [40]. In particular, vitamin C and folate, which have prior evidence of efficacy in augmentation index studies, did not have a consistent effect on sensitive biomarkers in our participant group [10,20]. If these vitamins were not wellTable 3 Male means and standard deviations for cardiovascular measures and results of ANCOVAs (DV ¼ Post Treatment, Covariate ¼ Baseline). "
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    • "Studies on the role of Hcy in cognitive performance in healthy subjects have shown that Hcy is specifically involved in episodic memory (Faux et al., 2011; Narayan et al., 2011), spatial learning (Pirchl et al., 2010), reversal learning (Christie et al., 2005; Algaidi et al., 2006), and executive function (Narayan et al., 2011). However, it is debatable whether Hcy plays a role in working memory processes, as some studies have found they are not related (Narayan et al., 2011), while other studies found that lowering Hcy levels enhances working memory (Macpherson et al., 2012). Recently published results reveal associations between total Hcy levels and cognitive functions in healthy subjects. "
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