Investigating the Effects of a Multinutrient Supplement on Cognition, Mood and Biochemical Markers in Middle-Aged Adults with 'Optimal' and 'Sub-Optimal' Diets: A Randomized Double Blind Placebo Controlled Trial

Nutrients. 2022 Nov 29;14(23):5079. doi: 10.3390/nu14235079.


Background: Previous randomized controlled trials examining cognitive and mood effects of combination multivitamin supplements in healthy, non-clinical adults have reported mixed results. One purported explanation for this is that the dietary status of participants at the start of supplement interventions may influence the magnitude of the effect of supplementation. Methods: In this study, we evaluated the effect of a multinutrient formula containing B group vitamins, Bacopa monniera and Ginkgo biloba on memory, attention, mood and biochemical markers of nutrient status in middle-aged adults (M = 52.84 years, n = 141) with 'optimal' and 'sub-optimal' diets over 12 weeks. We hypothesised that active supplementation would differentially improve memory and attention in those with a 'sub-optimal' diet. Results: Mixed model, repeated measures analysis revealed that, in comparison to placebo, active treatment was associated with significant increases in B vitamin status (B1, B6, B12). Regarding behavioural outcomes there was no significant benefit to memory (F(1, 113.51) = 0.53, p = 0.470) nor attention (F(1,113.77) = 1.89, p = 0.171) in the whole cohort. Contrary to our hypothesis, there was a significant beneficial effect of supplementation on attentional performance in individuals with an 'optimal' diet prior to supplementation (F(1,57.25) = 4.94, p = 0.030). In the absence of a main effect of supplementation across the entire cohort, there were also a number of significant three-way interactions (treatment by time by diet group) detected in secondary outcomes including lower state anxiety and mental fatigue in those with an 'optimal' diet. Conclusion: These findings suggest that the cognitive benefit of B vitamin and herbal supplementation may be dependent on diet quality, supporting the concepts of 'co-nutrient optimisation' and interdependency of nutrients. This warrants further investigation. This study advocates characterising the diet of participants prior to supplementation as it may influence the effect of a nutraceutical intervention.

Keywords: B vitamins; Bacopa monniera; Ginkgo biloba; cognition; diet quality; mood.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Bacopa*
  • Biomarkers
  • Cognition
  • Diet
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Vitamin B Complex*


  • Biomarkers
  • Vitamin B Complex

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