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The influence of multivitamins on cognitive function and mood in the elderly

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The elderly are at risk of nutritional deficiency for a number of reasons, and as vitamins and minerals are crucially involved in the formation of certain neurotransmitters, such deficiency may result in impaired cognitive functioning. The objectives of the study were to examine the relationship between vitamin status and cognitive functioning and mood in healthy, elderly volunteers and to assess the subsequent impact of multivitamin supplementation on these measures. A double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel group study was carried out with 139 healthy, elderly volunteers (60-83 years) being randomly allocated to daily treatment with multivitamins or placebo for up to 24 weeks. Assessments of blood vitamin levels, cognitive functioning and mood were performed at baseline and at 12-weekly intervals thereafter. This population was deficient in various vitamins, particularly vitamins B-2, B-6 and B-12. Various correlations between vitamin levels and cognitive functioning were observed at baseline, but although multivitamin supplementation increased blood vitamin levels, it had very little effect on performance. Short-term multivitamin supplementation in healthy, elderly volunteers had little effect on cognitive function or mood. However, vitamin status correlated with certain measures at baseline, and therefore it is possible that supplementation over longer periods of time and/or in volunteers with poorer nutritional status may prove beneficial.

Document Type: Original Article

Affiliations: 1: HPRU Medical Research Unit, University of Surrey, UK 2: Hoffman-La Roche Ltd., Switzerland

Publication date: November 1, 2000

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