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Maturitas. 2011 Mar;68(3):203-9. doi: 10.1016/j.maturitas.2011.01.003. Epub 2011 Jan 26.

Nutrition in centenarians.

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Department of Foods and Nutrition, University of Georgia, 280 Dawson Hall, Athens, GA, USA.


The oldest old are among the fastest growing segment of the population and it is important to understand not only the influence of modifiable lifestyle factors such as diet and nutrition on the achievement of exceptional longevity but also the role, if any, of these factors on maintaining optimal cognitive, mental and physical health into advanced age. This review summarizes studies of dietary intake and patterns of long-lived peoples and presents current knowledge of nutritional status of centenarians as determined with nutritionally relevant biomarkers, providing information on comparative levels of the various biomarkers between centenarians and older adult controls and on the prevalence and predictors of nutritional deficiencies in centenarians. The studies indicate that BMI and nutritional status as indicated by circulating levels of antioxidant vitamins, vitamin B12, folate, homocysteine and 25(OH) vitamin D of centenarians are quite heterogeneous and influenced by region of residency and many of the demographic, dietary and lifestyle factors that influence nutritional status in other older adults. While many of the studies have been small, convenience samples of relatively healthy community-dwelling centenarians, a few have population-based or included participants of varying cognitive functioning. These and future studies examining associations between nutritional status and cognitive, mental and physical function should be instrumental in determining the role of nutrition in promoting longevity and improving the quality of life in these exceptional survivors.

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