The need for multi-vitamin/mineral supplements has often been questioned. Many people feel that a healthy diet will provide all of the essential nutrients in adequate amounts. By filling in nutritional gaps multi-vitamin supplements have been claimed to boost overall health, energy, and immune system function. A study published in 2010 found that one specific multi-vitamin/mineral, Supradyn, was able to boost cognitive function after only 9 weeks of use.
There were 216 participants included in the study. All participants were generally healthy females 25-50 years old. One group supplemented with the Supradyn multi-vitamin/mineral, and the other group took a placebo supplement. Before supplementation and again after 9 weeks of supplementation went though a series of tests to examine cognitive performance as well as mental fatigue and mood after prolonged mental exertion.After 9 weeks, the group supplementing with the multi-vitamin/mineral did show improvements over the placebo group. The multi-vitamin/mineral group performed better during multi-tasking activities and were less fatigued with a better mood after extended mental exertion.
While this study did use what the researchers believed to be healthy individuals, one downside is that the participants were all women. Had the study been done using a mix of men and women or all men, the results might have been different. Nevertheless, it does show that taking a multi-vitamin may have some benefits within a short time period. Supradyn, the supplement used in the study, is a very basic multi-vitamin/mineral product providing enough of the essential micronutrients to fill in nutritional gaps, but nothing extra beyond that (such as high doses of B-vitamins or vitamin D). This suggests that you don’t necessarily need to use the highest dose or “best” multi-vitamin out there to get some benefits from it.
Haskell CF, Robertson B, Jones E, Forster J, Jones R, Wilde A, Maggini S, & Kennedy DO. (2010). Effects of a multi-vitamin/mineral supplement on cognitive function and fatigue during extended multi-tasking. Human Psychopharmacology. 25(6), 448-61.
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