Thursday, March 24, 2011

Multivitamins may improve cognitive function and reduce fatigue during extended multi-tasking

[I wish the numbers used were higher, but this is a start anyway.]

In past years, research on multivitamin supplements and cognitive performance has shown mixed results. A recent study sheds more light on the subject with new correlations between multivitamin use, fatigue, and cognitive function in healthy females.

In a placebo-controlled, double-blind, randomized trial, researchers studied the effect of a multi-vitamin/mineral in 216 females between the ages of 25 and 50. Participants attended the laboratory before treatment, and again after nine weeks of treatment. During both visits, cognitive function and task-related mood and fatigue were evaluated in two separate 20-minute assessment periods during which participants completed a four-module version of the Multi-Tasking Framework.

Interestingly, participants in the vitamin/mineral group experienced fewer negative effects on mood and fatigue as a result of extended task completion. Multitasking performance for this group also improved (in terms of accuracy) across all tasks. On two of the tasks – Mathematical Processing and Stroop (a task for measuring reaction time) – improvements were seen in both speed and accuracy.

These findings suggest that healthy members of the general population may experience benefits to cognitive function as a result of increased levels of vitamins and minerals taken as dietary supplements.

Haskell CF, et al. Effects of a multi-vitamin/mineral supplement on cognitive function and fatigue during extended multi-tasking. 2010. Human Psychopharmacology: Clinical and Experimental–61.

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