Vitamin intake is associated with improved visuospatial and verbal semantic memory in middle-aged individuals

Flitton, Miles, MacDonald, Ian A. and Knight, Helen M. (2019) Vitamin intake is associated with improved visuospatial and verbal semantic memory in middle-aged individuals. Nutritional Neuroscience, 22 (6). pp. 401-408. ISSN 1476-8305

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Objectives: Factors maintaining cognitive health are still largely unknown. In particular, the cognitive benefits associated with vitamin intake and vitamin supplementation are disputed.

We investigated self-reported vitamin intake and serum vitamin levels with performance in cognitive factors sensitive to dementia progression in two large middle-aged general population cohorts.

Methods: Survey data was used to assess regular vitamin intake in 4400 NCDS 1958 and 1177 TwinsUK cohort members, and serum homocysteine and B vitamin levels were measured in 675 individuals from the TwinsUK study. Principal component analysis was applied to cognitive test performance from both cohorts resulting in two dementia-sensitive cognitive factors reflecting visuospatial associative memory and verbal semantic memory.

Results: In both cohorts, individuals who reported regular intake of vitamins, particularly B vitamins, showed significantly better performance in visuospatial associative memory and verbal semantic memory (p < 0.001). A significant association was also found between homocysteine levels, vitamin serum concentration and visuospatial associative memory performance which indicated that individuals with high B vitamin and homocysteine levels showed better visuospatial associative memory performance than individuals with low vitamin B levels (p < 0.05).

Discussion: The findings demonstrate that early dementia-sensitive cognitive changes can be identified in middle-aged asymptomatic individuals and that regular vitamin intake is associated with improved cognitive performance. These findings reinforce the potential cognitive benefits of regular vitamin intake, which should be considered as an economically viable therapeutic strategy for maintaining cognitive health.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Vitamins; Visuospatial associative memory; Verbal semantic memory; Cognitive reserve; Homocysteine
Schools/Departments: University of Nottingham, UK > Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > School of Life Sciences
Identification Number:
Depositing User: Knight, Dr Helen
Date Deposited: 06 Nov 2017 10:56
Last Modified: 04 May 2020 19:16

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