In a randomized, double-blind and placebo-controlled study, 215 men in full-time employment aged between 30 and 55 were given either a proprietary multivitamin known as Berocca® containing B complex, vitamin C and minerals or a placebo for a period of 33 days.
The two groups were tested at the beginning of the study and at the end with a battery of mood, stress and health questionnaires and with physical and mental tasks that included mental arithmetic (counting backwards in 3s or 7s from a random number).
Prior to treatment, there were no significant differences between the placebo and multi-vitamin/minerals groups in performance or ratings for any of the study outcomes. However, after 33 days supplementation the multivitamin/minerals group reported significantly improved ratings of general mental health, reduced subjective stress and increased ratings of 'vigor', with a strong trend towards an overall improvement in mood. Task performance, in terms of the number of correct serial-3 subtractions throughout the six repetitions of the cognitive tasks, and serial-7s during the first repetition, was also improved. This was accompanied by reduced ratings of 'mental tiredness' before and after the intense mental processing and a trend towards reduced 'mental fatigue'. The placebo group showed no significant changes.
The effects of multivitamins are most often researched in the elderly, and very few studies have assessed the relationship between supplementation with vitamins/minerals and psychological functioning in healthy groups of non-elderly adults.
"Overall, these results suggest that improving nutritional status, by vitamin and mineral supplementation if necessary, may be beneficial to males within the general population as a whole," says Northumbria University's Professor David Kennedy, who led the study.
"The assumption was made here that the men tested enjoyed typical nutritional status. However, the very fact of being able to improve mood, ratings of mental health and vigor and aspects of task performance by simple supplementation with B vitamins, Vitamin C and minerals indicates that the cohort must have been suffering from less than optimal micronutrient status at the outset."
"We know that optimum functioning of the central nervous system is dependent on a wide range of micronutrients, and there is a wealth of evidence from epidemiological studies that clearly suggest a relationship between micronutrients and psychological functioning.
"Vitamin C for example is the brain's most prevalent antioxidant and is found at its greatest concentrations in neuron-rich areas."
About the Multivitamin Mineral Supplment Berocca®
The multivitamin known as Berocca® is manufactured by Bayer Consumer Care, the sponsors of the study. Berocca is a tablet containing a combination of B group vitamins and Vitamin C.