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Eur J Clin Nutr. 1996 Jun;50(6):340-2.

Folate and vitamin B12 status of the elderly.

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  • 1Department of Agricultural, Food and Nutritional Science, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada.



The present study was undertaken to investigate the relationship between estimated folate and vitamin B12 intakes and their biochemical status in elderly persons.


Twenty-eight males and 30 females ( > 65 years) were randomly selected from a larger sample of free-living elderly residents of Edmonton, Canada. Subjects were contacted through a seniors' service organization. Any subject using vitamin supplements or alcohol other than the social drink was excluded from the study.


Dietary intake was estimated using a three-nonconsecutive-day food record. Biochemical status was assessed by measuring the plasma levels of folate and vitamin B12, as well as the red blood cell (r.b.c.) folate levels.


Average daily intakes of both folate and vitamin B12 met the recommended requirements. Their mean plasma levels were within the accepted normal ranges in both males and females. However, probability analysis of dietary intake revealed an appreciable number of subjects at risk of deficiency, especially of folate (male 26%; female 21%). According to the interpretive guidelines of r.b.c. folate levels, an appreciable number of the study subjects were also found to be at risk of folate deficiency (male 57%; female 67%).


The folate status appears to be a greater concern than the vitamin B12 status for the elderly population. It seems that although mean values of dietary intake and plasma concentrations of folate may indicate nutritional adequacy, a proportion of the older population may still be at nutritional risks.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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