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Int J Vitam Nutr Res. 2012 Oct;82(5):355-9. doi: 10.1024/0300-9831/a000131.

The role of vitamins in aging societies.

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  • 1DSM Nutritional Products Ltd., Kaiseraugst, Switzerland. barbara.troesch@dsm.com


Raising numbers of elderly lead to a dramatic shift in demographics, accompanied by an increase in non-communicable diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular disease and dementia. All these conditions are thought to be modifiable by diet to some degree and mounting evidence indicates that improved intakes of certain vitamins can slow their progress. Strong evidence exists for the beneficial effect of vitamin D on the risk of bone fractures. Moreover, as chromosomal damage is a risk factor for dementia, supplementation with nutrients preventing these impairments are thought to have a beneficial effect on cognitive decline. However, the aging progress strongly affects nutrient intakes and utilisation due to social, physical and psychological changes. Data from dietary surveys suggest that many of the elderly in Europe have intakes for various vitamins that are well below the recommendations. The situation appears to be even more critical for elderly in institutions such as care homes. Given the increasing number of elderly and the importance of an adequate supply with vitamins, more research is warranted to find nutritional solutions to improve their wellbeing and health - which in the long run can be expected to contribute to reduce the ever increasing health care costs.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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