The Brain-Boosting Power of Vitamins: Nutrients to Support Cognitive Function

The Brain-Boosting Power of Vitamins: Nutrients to Support Cognitive Function

Approximately one-third of American adults report regularly taking multivitamins. While there is a wide range of perceived benefits to taking multivitamins, the research on actual benefits has been mixed. Interestingly, some evidence points to multivitamins as a simple way to help slow cognitive decline as we get older. Let’s look at some of the key vitamins and minerals for your brain and the emerging research on the potential benefit of multivitamins. 

Key Vitamins and Minerals for Your Brain

We all hope to be as sharp in 10-20 years as we are today, but this isn’t always the case. Age-related cognitive decline is common, as many aging adults experience an increase in memory loss, ability to focus, and in more severe cases, dementia and neurodegenerative diseases. So, what can we do?

Good nutrition is a critical component of every aspect of health and wellness. Certain micronutrients are especially beneficial for your brain. 

Vitamin B complex 

Vitamin B complex is a combination of the water-soluble B vitamins and often includes B6, B9, and B12, among others. Getting enough B vitamins is associated with slowed cognitive decline, especially when taken consistently and for an extended period. 

B vitamins are involved in the production of brain chemicals like serotonin, dopamine, and noradrenaline. They also help regulate levels of homocysteine — an amino acid that, when elevated, is associated with an increased risk of cognitive decline. 

Vitamin D

Vitamin D plays a vital role in brain health. It’s involved in the production of brain chemicals and the ability of neurons to communicate properly. Some studies suggest an association between low levels of vitamin D and a higher risk for cognitive impairment. However, research is mixed. 


Antioxidants are compounds that help protect our cells from inflammation and damage that promotes disease. Vitamin E, vitamin C, and selenium are natural antioxidants. Some studies have found that low levels of these nutrients are commonly found in people with cognitive impairments. 


High magnesium intake may help improve brain function among older adults. Magnesium is involved in regulating neurotransmitter function, which influences memory, learning, and overall brain communication. 

Role of Multivitamins in Cognitive Health

The best way to get a variety of vitamins and minerals is to eat a balanced diet. An array of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, whole grains, and legumes provides essential micronutrients and antioxidants. Still, many people struggle to meet their daily vitamin and mineral needs consistently from food alone. 

As a result, some choose to add a multivitamin to their daily regimen sort of a nutritional insurance. And as it turns out, this may be a smart move — particularly for the aging population. 

Can a Daily Multivitamin Slow an Aging Brain?

A recently published study in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition examined the effects of multivitamin supplementation on aging cognitive function. The authors were interested in whether taking a daily multivitamin later in life had any effect on common age-related cognitive complaints. 

They found that adults 60 years or older who consistently took a multivitamin experienced a slower decline in cognitive function compared to those who took a placebo.

The multivitamin was specifically designed for adults who are at least 50 years old. Each tablet provides over 100% of the Daily Value (DV) for especially important nutrients to get enough (and may be harder to get enough of) of later in life, including vitamin D and the B vitamins (particularly B12). 

Similarly, Naturelo's One Daily Multivitamin for Women Over 50 and One Daily Multivitamin for Men Over 50 prioritize these nutrients for older generations.

This study is the third arm of the COcoa Supplement and Multivitamin Outcomes Study (COSMOS). The research series has demonstrated that taking a daily multivitamin for up to 3 years can slow age-related cognitive decline by 2 years. 

As much as possible, it’s important to think about how to optimize our brain health years before we experience age-related changes. While more research is needed, adding a daily multivitamin to complement an otherwise healthy, nutrient-dense diet may be an easy preventive step.


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