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The Influence Of Micronutrients On Cognitive Function And Performance

E Huskisson, S Maggini, M Ruf

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There has been much media speculation (often sensationalist and conflicting) regarding the potential influence of micronutrients on cognitive function and performance. Our aim was to identify the micronutrients specifically implicated in cognitive function and to review the literature to identify original sources underlying the media coverage. Literature searches were carried out to identify recent clinical trials, reviews, editorials and meetings describing the biochemical and physiological role of individual micronutrients. No attempt was made to grade the evidence. The searches confirmed that the water-soluble vitamins (B group and C), together with the minerals, calcium, magnesium and zinc, are most relevant to cognitive performance. Clinical evidence revealed that marginal deficiencies of one or more of these micronutrients are not uncommon, even in the developed countries, and that such deficiencies may affect cognitive performance, especially in vulnerable groups such as the elderly and those individuals who are exposed to occupational pressures and a stressful lifestyle.