Multivitamin supplements may boost working memory and attentional processing, and adding guarana may enhance these effects further, says a new study with Bayer Healthcare’s Berocca Performance and Boost products.
The multivitamin plus guarana formulation (Berocca Boost) was also associated with significantly improved performance in select mental tests, as well as self-rated contentment, report researchers in the journal Nutrients . The study was funded by Bayer.
“Our finding suggests that both Berocca Boost and Berocca Performance modify the functional activation of a key brain region underlying high-order cognitive functions,” wrote the researchers, led by Andrew Scholey from Swinburne University in Melbourne, Australia.
“To the best of our knowledge, this is the first functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) experiment that demonstrates that a multivitamin supplementation with and without guaraná impacts both neural activity and cognition.”
The Melbourne-based scientists recruited 20 people with an average age of 29 to participate in the double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomised, balanced crossover study. Participants were randomly assigned to receive multivitamin preparations with or without guarana, or a placebo. Thirty minutes after consuming the supplement, the participants underwent neurocognitive assessments – this was the same time frame as used in an earlier study . Five additional participants underwent post-treatment fMRI scanning during cognitive tests.
fMRI Results showed that both supplements showed greater activation in areas of the brain associated with working memory and attentional processing. The effects were further enhanced when guarana was included.
“While these preliminary neuroimaging findings should not be over-interpreted, they do however provide possible insights into the behavioural effects of the treatments,” explained Scholey and his c-oworkers. “Berocca Boost was generally associated with greater activation of brain loci involved in working memory and attention, which is consistent with improved Serial Threes performance and which may be attributable to guaraná in the preparation.”
However, the researchers noted that the vitamin levels in the Performance product are generally higher than the corresponding levels in the Boost product.
“This does raise the intriguing possibility that there may be a dose effect of multivitamins and that guaraná combined with a higher level of vitamins may have produced bigger effects.
“Given that the cognitive effects of multivitamins are more evident with chronic dosing, we are currently embarking on a longer term trial of Berocca Performance incorporating fMRI in a larger cohort,” they added.
Volume 5, Number 9, Pages 3589-3604; doi:10.3390/nu5093589
“Acute Effects of Different Multivitamin Mineral Preparations with and without Guaraná on Mood, Cognitive Performance and Functional Brain Activation”
Authors: A. Scholey, I. Bauer, C. Neale, K. Savage, D. Camfield, D. White, S. Maggini, A. Pipingas, C. Stough, M. Hughes