Can Supplements Keep

Next time you’re struggling to decode the directory at the new mega-mall, you might check the whereabouts of the nearest vitamin store. In tests of cognitive abilities, including the visuo-spatial skills used to read and remember maps like the ones found in malls, a recent study found that healthy supplement users over age 65 scored higher than their nonsupplementing counterparts.

Smart eating was also connected to performance – participants who maximized their nutrition levels through diet alone performed well, too. But supplementers — even those taking a modest dose of multivitamins — appeared to get an extra brain boost. Tests measuring short-term memory and abstract reasoning (the best yardstick of mental pizzazz, according to experts) also suggested a link.

“This study couldn’t tell us which nutrients offer this edge, or how they work,” says doctor, lead study author, “but it could be that antioxidants somehow slow the normal aging of the brain.”

This study confirms the oft-seen connection between supplement-taking and other good health habits, so other factors could be the fuel behind the brainpower. But it’s not a bad idea to regularly top off your fruit, oatmeal, and skim milk with a multivitamin/mineral tablet and a brisk walk