If you want to stay healthy and mentally sharp, start by swallowing some multivitamins. That’s right—supplementing with a daily multivitamin can improve cognitive function, according to a series of studies published by researchers from the United Kingdom.
Several teams of British neuroscientists studied the effects of multivitamin supplementation on mood and cognitive functioning among adults and children. In each study, healthy men, women, and children took the daily supplements for four to twelve weeks and then were tested for attention span, memory, accuracy, multi-tasking and other cognitive functions. The researchers also assessed participants’ mood and stress levels.
The results of the studies indicated that multivitamins improved cognitive function—even after only a few weeks of supplementation. In fact, men who took high doses of vitamin B-complex supplements showed improvements of cognitive function and also reported less mental fatigue and higher energy levels. Women also benefited from the daily supplements, as evidenced by an improvement in the ability to multi-task. Children between the ages of 8 and 14 performed well on attention-based tasks.
A multivitamin isn’t a magic bullet and certainly cannot serve as a substitute for a healthy diet—but it can be one component of a healthy lifestyle. It’s one of those things that falls into the category of “can’t hurt, might help.” So, if you needed another reason to add a multivitamin to your daily health regimen, add cognitive function to the list. If you want to give your brain a boost, start by swallowing your vitamins.
Haskell CF, Scholey AB, Jackson PA, et al. Cognitive and mood effects in healthy children during 12 weeks’ supplementation with multi-vitamin/minerals. British Journal of Nutrition. 2008; 100: 1086-1096.
Kennedy DO, Veasey R, Watson A, et al. Effects of high-dose B vitamin complex with vitamin C and minerals on subjective mood and performance in healthy males. Psychopharmacology. 2010; 211(1):55-68.
Haskell CF, Robertson B, Jones E, et al. Effects of a multi-vitamin/mineral supplement on cognitive function and fatigue during extended multi-tasking. Human Psychopharmacology: Clinical and Experimental. 2010; 25(6): 448-461.