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Nutr Res. 2011 Mar;31(3):205-14. doi: 10.1016/j.nutres.2011.03.005.

Serum vitamin E concentrations among highly functioning hip fracture patients are higher than in nonfracture controls.

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Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University of Maryland, Baltimore, MD 21201, USA.


Malnutrition after hip fracture is common and associated with poor outcomes and protracted recovery. Low concentrations of vitamin E have been associated with incident decline in physical function among older adults and may, therefore, be particularly important to functionally compromised patients hip fracture patients. Serum concentrations of α-tocopherol and γ-tocopherol, the 2 major forms of vitamin E, were assessed in 148 female hip fracture patients 65 years or older from the Baltimore Hip Studies cohort 4 around the time of fracture (baseline) and at 2, 6, and 12 month postfracture follow-up visits (recovery). It was hypothesized that mean concentrations of both forms of vitamin E among these hip fracture patients would be lowest at the baseline visit and increase at each study visit during the year after fracture. Linear regression and generalized estimating equations were used to assess changes in vitamin E concentrations after adjustment for covariates and to determine predictors of vitamin E concentrations at baseline and throughout recovery. It was also hypothesized that vitamin E concentrations shortly after hip fracture would be lower than those in nonfracture controls after adjustment for covariates. To evaluate this hypothesis, linear regression was used to perform adjusted comparisons of baseline vitamin E concentrations among Baltimore Hip Studies cohort 4 participants to 1076 older women without history of hip fracture from the Women's Health and Aging Study I, Invecchiare in Chianti Study, and the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys. Mean α-tocopherol was lowest at baseline, and time from fracture to blood draw was positively associated with baseline α-tocopherol (P = .005). Mean γ-tocopherol did not change appreciably throughout the year after fracture, although it fluctuated widely within individuals. Serum concentrations of α-tocopherol and γ-tocopherol were highest among the hip fracture population after adjustment (P < .0001). In general, highly cognitively and physically functioning hip fracture patients demonstrated higher vitamin E concentrations. Thus, the relatively high degree of function among this cohort of hip fracture patients may explain their higher-than-expected vitamin E concentrations.

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