Can A Daily Vitamin Supplement Enhance Your Memory?

A study was conducted at the University of Paris XIII in France that indicated a higher intake of vitamins and minerals in your system could boost memory power, over time. There is nothing crazy about this idea, since a good balance of the proper nutrients in your diet benefit memory and cognitive skills.

According to the study, adults who took vitamin and mineral supplements for almost a decade performed better on one type of memory test than those who didn’t take the supplements.

Geraldine McNeill, a nutritionist at the University of Aberdeen in the UK wasn’t involved in the French study, but said “some people, especially those who are deficient in vitamins and mineral — might get a memory benefit from boosting the nutrients in their diet.”

“The question is, does the cognitive performance depend on the diet, or does the diet depend on the cognitive performance?” McNeill told Reuters Health. “It’s possible that people who have better thinking and memory skills might pay closer attention to what they’re eating,” she explained.

In 1994, when the study participants were 45 to 60 years old, researchers split 4,500 French men and women randomly into two groups. Half of them took a daily supplement that included vitamins C and E, selenium, zinc, and beta-carotene for eight years. The others took a nutrient-free placebo pill each day. None of them were aware of whether they were taking the vitamins or the placebo.

After eight years, researchers stopped giving participants their assigned pills, and they could choose on their own whether or not to take vitamin supplements. Six years later, researchers brought them back to the lab for a round of memory tests that included word and number problems to measure different types of memory and “mental flexibility.”

Although the supplement and placebo groups performed similarly on most tests, the nutrient-boosted participants beat their peers on one test of long-term memory in which participants had to recall words in different categories.

“Our results have to be considered carefully,” the authors wrote in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Because they did several tests, it’s more likely that the one difference they found was due to chance. Still, they added, the “findings support a beneficial effect of a well-balanced intake of antioxidant nutrients at nutritional doses for maintaining cognitive performance, especially verbal memory.”

McNeill said that most people could simply change their diets to get the vitamin and nutrient doses used in the study, like orange juice for vitamin C. There is not real need to take supplements unless you are not getting the proper nutrition in your regular diet.

Barbara Shukitt-Hale, a nutrition researcher at Tufts University in Boston, said it’s important for people to know that boosting brain power requires more than just taking a vitamin pill every day.

“Vitamins and minerals are important for memory, but they’re not the only thing that’s important,” she told Reuters Health. “The most important thing is eating a healthy diet, being active, and keeping your brain sharp.”

This is Ron White, two-time USA Memory Champion , memory training expert, and memory keynote speaker. It is important to maintain a healthy and balanced diet in order for your body and mind to work at optimum levels.


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