Well-fed Italian seniors may still need multivitamins: 10 year study

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Health Italian seniors may be at risk of nutrient deficiencies despite being eating a diet with adequate energy and macronutrient levels, say results of a 10-year study from Italy.

Data from 78 Italian seniors, aged between 70 and 75, showed that, despite no decline in the levels of energy intake, by the end of a decade of study, 50 per cent of the participants were deficient in vitamins A and B2..

“Multivitamin supplementation may be necessary, even in healthy individuals, to ensure an adequate micronutrient intake in the elderly,”​ report researchers from the University of Padua in The Journal of Nutrition, Health & Aging​.

The Italian researchers also report that at the start of the study “the intake of all vitamins exceeded the Lowest European RDI, with the exception of vitamin B1, for which 44 per cent of the men and 60 per cent of the women were already deficient”​.

At the end of the study – which relied on the participants to record their dietary habits – the researchers concluded that, “despite an adequate nutritional/functional status and a total energy intake that could be expected to cover the recommendations for micronutrients too, a considerable proportion of our successfully aging elderly were already deficient in, or at high risk of becoming deficient in several essential vitamins”​.

Source: The Journal of Nutrition, Health & Aging
Volume 15, Number 2, Pages 99-103, doi: 10.1007/s12603-011-0020-x
“Ten-year trends in vitamin intake in free-living healthy elderly people: The risk of subclinical malnutrition”
Authors: E. D. Toffanello, E. M. Inelmen, N. Minicuci, F. Campigotto, G. Sergi, A. Coin, F. Miotto, G. Enzi and E. Manzato

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