A daily multivitamin supplement may improve brain efficiency in older women, according to new research from Swinburne University of Technology.
Centre for Human Psychopharmacology researcher at Swinburne, Dr Helen Macpherson's four month study of a multivitamin formulated for women 50+ found some evidence that multivitamin supplements may influence cognitive function by altering electrical activity in the brain.
"The main finding of the study was that 16 weeks supplementation with the multivitamin modulated brain activity," Dr Macpherson said.
"This is an important result as it shows there are direct effects of multivitamins on the brain.
"Previous research has used measures of behaviour to determine whether multivitamins can affect brain function, but this is the first trial to directly measure brain activity."
The study was conducted over 16 weeks with 56 women aged between 64 and 79 who were concerned about their memory or experiencing memory difficulties. They were randomly assigned to take the multivitamin supplement or a placebo daily.
Volunteers underwent a recording of their brain electrical activity whilst performing a spatial working memory task.
The research was published in the journal, Physiology and Behaviour. A previous paper published in a pharmacology journal reported that multivitamin supplements improved behavioural performance in a similar group of participants.
The study concluded that 16 weeks of supplementation with a combined multivitamin, mineral and herbal formula may benefit memory, by enabling the brain to work in a more efficient way.
"When considered with our other findings of benefits to memory performance, there is increasing evidence that multivitamins may be useful to combat cognitive decline in the elderly," Dr Macpherson said.