, Volume 220, Issue 2, pp 351–365 | Cite as

Memory improvements in elderly women following 16 weeks treatment with a combined multivitamin, mineral and herbal supplement

A randomized controlled trial
  • Helen MacphersonEmail author
  • Kathryn A. Ellis
  • Avni Sali
  • Andrew Pipingas
Original Investigation



There is potential for multivitamin supplementation to improve cognition in the elderly. This randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial was conducted to investigate the effects of 16 weeks multivitamin supplementation (Swisse Women’s 50+ Ultivite ®) on cognition in elderly women.


Participants in this study were 56 community dwelling, elderly women, with subjective complaints of memory loss. Cognition was assessed using a computerized battery of memory and attention tasks designed to be sensitive to age-related declines to fluid intelligence, and a measure of verbal recall. Biochemical measures of selected nutrients, homocysteine, markers of inflammation, oxidative stress, and blood safety parameters were also collected. All cognitive and haematological parameters were assessed at baseline and 16 weeks post-treatment.


The multivitamin improved speed of response on a measure of spatial working memory, however benefits to other cognitive processes were not observed. Multivitamin supplementation decreased levels of homocysteine and increased levels of vitamin B6 and B12, with a trend for vitamin E to increase. There were no hepatotoxic effects of the multivitamin formula indicating this supplement was safe for everyday usage in the elderly.


Sixteen weeks ssupplementation with a combined multivitamin, mineral and herbal formula may benefit working memory in elderly women at risk of cognitive decline.


Multivitamin Vitamin Elderly Cognition Cognitive Memory Homocysteine Oxidative stress Inflammation Blood safety Working memory 



This work was supported by funding from Swisse Vitamins Pty Ltd. The authors are grateful to Swisse Vitamins for providing the multivitamin and placebo supplements used in this trial.

Conflicts of interest

The National Institute of Integrative Medicine, of which Professor Avni Sali is currently Director, receives financial support from Swisse Vitamins Pty Ltd. The treatments were randomly allocated by Swisse Vitamins Pty Ltd. Swisse Vitamins Pty Ltd was not involved in any other aspects of the conduct of the trial, analysis, or interpretation of the trial findings.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Helen Macpherson
    • 1
    Email author
  • Kathryn A. Ellis
    • 2
  • Avni Sali
    • 3
  • Andrew Pipingas
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre for Human Psychopharmacology, NICM Collaborative Centre for NeurocognitionSwinburne University of TechnologyMelbourneAustralia
  2. 2.Department of Psychiatry, Academic Unit for Psychiatry of Old Age, St Vincent’s Aged Psychiatry Service, St George’s HospitalUniversity of MelbourneMelbourneAustralia
  3. 3.National Institute of Integrative MedicineMelbourneAustralia

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