Not just all in the mind: How a vitamin a day helps boost memory

By Roger Dobson

PUBLISHED:16:00 EST, 6  October 2012| UPDATED:16:01 EST, 6 October 2012

The cost of health: About £140 million a year is spent on multivitamins in the UK
The cost of health: About £140 million a year is spent  on multivitamins in the UK

A daily multivitamin tablet may boost the  memory and slow mental decline.

According to new studies, taking supplements  has a beneficial effect on memory and may work by increasing efficiency of brain  cells.

One study showed that after just four weeks  there were measurable changes in electrical activity in the brain when carrying  out memory tests, not seen in a comparison group taking a placebo  pill.

The body needs 13 vitamins to function  properly and maintain health.

Vitamins A, C, D, E and K and the eight B  vitamins each have specific job in the body.

Vitamin C keeps cells healthy, D regulates  calcium and E maintains cell structure, while the B vitamins, including folic  acid, have a wide range of functions.

About £140 million a year is spent on  multivitamins in the UK.

One study at Monash University in Australia  looked at whether multivitamins can improve cognitive abilities, and involved  3,200 men and women.

The results showed that those who used a  multivitamin had improved ability to recall events or information.

The second study at Australia’s Swinburne  University looked at women aged over 64 who had complained about poor  memory.

Results showed that those taking a  multivitamin supplement had improved rates of electrical activity in the brain  while carrying out a memory test.

One study showed, after just four weeks, there were measurable changes in electrical activity in the brain
One study showed, after just four weeks, there were  measurable changes in electrical activity in the brain

Researchers say it may work by increasing  nerve cells’ efficiency and improving memory.

Professor David Kennedy, of the Brain,  Performance and Nutrition Research Centre at Northumbria University, said: ‘The  evidence is still limited but the studies hint at some possible beneficial  effects.

‘Optimal brain function depends on an  adequate level of all of the vitamins. Multivitamins are likely to be more  effective because people have different deficiencies.’

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