By Roger Dobson
PUBLISHED:16:00 EST, 6 October 2012| UPDATED:16:01 EST, 6 October 2012
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.
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.’