Berocca is a dietary supplement containing mainly B vitamins and a large dose of Vitamin C. Here's a listing from their website for Berocca Perfomance:

Vitamin B1  15 mg   
Vitamin B2  15 mg   
Vitamin B3  50 mg   
Vitamin B5  23 mg   
Vitamin B6  10 mg   
Vitamin B12 10 μg   
Vitamin C   500 mg  
Vitamin H   150 μg  
Folic acid  400 μg  
Calcium     100 mg  
Magnesium   100 mg  
Zinc        10 mg   

Berocca says:

Berocca Performance may help:

  • Improve alertness and concentration
  • Improve physical stamina and reduce tiredness and fatigue
  • Enhance mental performance
  • Improve mood and reduce tiredness

Is there any truth to this claim?

  • 3
    They can claim that; the main way they stay safe is by using "may help". But the claim would be pretty worthless (other than as a sales pitch) without studies and some metrics. Do they provide any? – user3169 Jun 24 '15 at 4:18
  • 1
    Isn't the answer "Yes: because symptoms of vitamin B deficiencies may include effects on mental alertness, tiredness, etc."? – ChrisW Jun 24 '15 at 4:28
  • @ChrisW That's a good point, but the prevalence of deficiencies should be relevant. I'm reminded of the claim that carrots improve your eyesight. But vit A deficiency in developed countries is nearly nonexistent. – Adam Phelps Jun 27 '15 at 12:55
  • IMO vitamin supplements are intended, by definition, for (the subset of) people who may have a vitamin deficiency. – ChrisW Jun 27 '15 at 12:59
  • Regarding the listing of Vitamin B6 -10 mg, a Cochrane review in 2008 found no evidence for short-term benefit from vitamin B6 in improving mood (depression, fatigue and tension symptoms) or cognitive functions and for Vitamin B12-10 μg evidence of any efficacy of vitamin B12 in improving the cognitive function of people with dementia and low serum B12 levels is insufficient per another Cochrane review in 2009. – pericles316 Jul 27 '15 at 11:33

A randomised, placebo-controlled, double–blind, parallel groups trial in 2010 by David O. Kennedy et.al. assessing the cognitive and mood effects of a high-dose B-complex vitamin and mineral supplement (Berocca®) in 215 males aged 30 to 55 years found that supplementation led to significant improvements in ratings on the PSS, GHQ-12 and the ‘vigour’ subscale of the POMS. The vitamin/mineral group also performed better on the Serial 3s subtractions task and rated themselves as less ‘mentally tired’ both pre- and post-completion of the cognitive demand battery. However, the lack of data confirming pre-treatment dietary habits and circulating levels of the relevant vitamins/minerals is a limitation of the study sponsored by Bayer Consumer Care AG, Basel, Switzerland which is the pharmaceutical company that produces Berocca supplements.

Conclusions: Healthy members of the general population may benefit from augmented levels of vitamins/minerals via direct dietary supplementation. Specifically, supplementation led to improved ratings of stress, mental health and vigour and improved cognitive performance during intense mental processing.

Per another study, folic acid supplementation for 3 years significantly improved domains of cognitive function that tend to decline with age.

Regarding the other ingredients in Berroca:

Although it is not yet clear whether micronutrient supplementation has beneficial effects on various cognitive domains, it is well established that micronutrient deficiencies, especially B vitamin deficiencies, have adverse effects on cognition.

A Cochrane review in 2008 found no evidence for short-term benefit from vitamin B6 in improving mood (depression, fatigue and tension symptoms) or cognitive functions. Evidence of any efficacy of folic acid along with or without vitamin B12 in improving the cognitive function of people with dementia and low serum B12 levels is insufficient per another Cochrane review in 2009. As with B vitamins, the evidence for direct supplementation with vitamin C in elderly or dementia suffering cohorts is also somewhat mixed. The minerals zinc (deficiency causes neuropsychological impairment), magnesium (important role in a variety of metabolic reactions particularly energy requiring processes) and calcium (universal messenger of extracellular signals) have been researched as those most relevant to cognitive performance. The question of exactly how the lack of biotin impacts central nervous system functions is still being investigated.


The mental performance effects most likely experienced from Berocca are from an ingredient you didn't list: caffeine. In the US, you cannot buy Berocca without guarana/caffeine.

Caffeine is a stimulant and has some cognitive effects due to that. It could be said that all of Berocca's mental performance claims are true due to the caffeine (e.g., alertness, reduce fatique, mental performance, etc). In addition, there was at least one study that showed that eating a better diet improved mental performance.

Caffeine and mental function - Caffeine may have an effect on mental function, particularly for older people, but perhaps not on memory other types of cognitive performance.

The Journal of Nutrition study isn’t the last word on the subject of caffeine and memory. It showed that people—particularly those who were ages 70 and over—who took in more caffeine scored better on tests of mental function, but not on memory tests or other measures of mental ability. Source - Caffeine and a healthy diet may boost memory, thinking skills; alcohol’s effect uncertain

Caffeine, cognition, mood, memory - Abstract from a study on the cognitive effects of caffeine on memory and mood:

Caffeine facilitates learning in tasks in which information is presented passively...caffeine appears to rather improve memory performance under suboptimal alertness conditions. Caffeine has also been reported to prevent cognitive decline in healthy subjects.... In conclusion, it appears that caffeine cannot be considered a 'pure' cognitive enhancer. Its indirect action on arousal, mood and concentration contributes in large part to its cognitive enhancing properties. source - Is caffeine a cognitive enhancer?

Diet and mental performance - The same Harvard article from above also studied the effects of diet on mental performance. As might be expected, people with a healthy diet performed better:

The study also looked at the connection between diet and mental performance. People who ate foods with plenty of healthful nutrients had better attention and memory than participant with poorer diets.

Physiology of caffeine on the brain - Lastly, for a longer explanation into the physiology of how caffeine affects the brain, here's an answer from Quora (that people probably won't like, but whatever). It also has many other references if you're curious about the physiology of caffeine and the brain. Overall, the reason caffeine affects the brain's mental performance is because it provides for more energy sources, in addition to glucose.

In case you didn't notice the caffeine:

Includes Guarana and caffeine to support mental sharpness and B-vitamins to support physical energy by helping to convert food to fuel. Berocca contains only 90mg of caffeine--about as much caffeine as in a cup of coffee


  • So does 90 mg of caffeine in that tablet boost cognitive effects? I am also skeptical of that random site's answer regarding caffeine's improvement of working memory since testing of performance by n-back tasks has its own critics-the-scientist.com/?articles.view/articleNo/39768/title/… and supporters-blogs.scientificamerican.com/beautiful-minds/…. – pericles316 Feb 2 '16 at 7:01
  • Not all Berocca contains caffeine: Berocca boost have guarana (thus, caffeine), but the "Berocca Vitamin B 30 Tablets" doesn't. The OP didn't said which version he is taking into account. – woliveirajr Feb 2 '16 at 17:52
  • @pericles316 The only site that discussed n-back tests was Quora. For this link, I specifically explained that I included it because it described the physiology of caffeine's effect on the brain. The effects of caffeine on the brain is the first q/a: Why does caffeine affect cognitive performance? (There are so many footnotes, it's hard to quote.) I included this answer in case someone questioned whether or not caffeine actually changed brain function on a chemical level. – user70848 Feb 2 '16 at 21:49
  • @woliveirajr That's true, it needs to be clarified. The product in the Amazon link is the US-formulated version of Berocca, as are similar products shown on that page. This formula, with the caffeine, is specific to the USA and is what you would buy in a US drugstore (or Amazon US). In addition, one of the studies above does state that "eating a diet with plenty of healthful nutrients" does improve mental performance, but it is focusing on eating foods with healthy nutrients not supplements. – user70848 Feb 2 '16 at 22:15

There are nearly 30 independent medical journal publications (www.gethardy.com/studies) which now show that micronutrient supplements support brain function and can even help promote mental health and mood stability. In fact, one of these studies took Berocca Performance and put it toe to toe against a Hardy supplement, and Berocca underperformed. Interesting.

  • Also, most of the answer is actually pretty meaningless: which micronutrients do what exactly? Water also supports brain function, etc. – Sklivvz Dec 21 '16 at 8:40
  • Apologies if I'm wrong, but this sounds a bit like a Hardy shill... – Rory Alsop Dec 22 '16 at 14:02

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