When we were young, we were always reminded to take our vitamins. As we get older, taking them regularly becomes even more important. According to a new study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, older adults can benefit from taking some vitamins. Vitamin B12 and folic acid supplements, in particular, have proven to improve cognitive functioning after two years.

For the study, the researchers recruited more than 700 people between the ages 60 and 74 who, while not diagnosed with clinical depression, showed symptoms of depression. According to the study authors, late-life depression may have ties with cognitive impairment; this made the volunteers ideal subjects for the study.

The participants were asked to take around 100 micrograms of vitamin B12 and 400 micrograms of folic acid every day. However, what the older adults didn’t know was that some of the pills were placebos and were intended to serve as a control factor. After a year, researchers measured the subjects’ long-term and short-term memories. The results, unfortunately, were not promising.


After two years, however, researchers were able to find signs of cognitive improvement. In a short-term memory test, those who took the placebo pills raised their score from around 5.2 to 5.5. Meanwhile, those who took the real vitamins increased their score from around 5.16 to 5.6.

Still, the results of the study are only modest and not foolproof. It may have found success in community-wide experiments, but the real test is on individual responses. More research needs to be done on the matter. In the meantime, it doesn't hurt to learn more about the vitamins you're taking and whether or not they're beneficial to you.

For more on vitamins, try these on FN:

(Photo source: sxc.hu)

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