Vitamin B-6 supplementation in elderly men: effects on mood, memory, performance and mental effort

Abstract

This study evaluates the effects of vitamin B-6 supplementation (20 mg pyridoxine HCL daily for 3 months) on mood and performance in 38 self-supporting healthy men, aged between 70–79 years. Effects were compared with 38 controls who received placebo and were matched for age, plasma pyridoxal-5′-phosphate (PLP) concentration and intelligence score. Before and after drug intervention vitamin B-6 status was determined, and mood and performance were measured by means of a computerized testing system. In addition, the phasic pupil response was measured in order to assess mental effort. Positive effects of vitamin B-6 supplementation were only found with respect to memory, especially concerning long-term memory. In view of the finding that mental performance improvement and Δ PLP values were most strongly correlated within an intermediate range of Δ PLP, it is suggested that cognitive effects are primarily associated with a certain range of vitamin B-6 status increment. The general conclusion is that vitamin B-6 supplementation improves storage of information modestly but significantly.

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Correspondence to J. B. Deijen.

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Deijen, J.B., van der Beek, E.J., Orlebeke, J.F. et al. Vitamin B-6 supplementation in elderly men: effects on mood, memory, performance and mental effort. Psychopharmacology 109, 489–496 (1992). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02247729

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Key words

  • Vitamin B-6
  • Aging
  • Mood
  • Memory
  • Performance
  • Pupil size
  • Mental effort