MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?
Response: Micronutrients, which include vitamins, minerals (e.g. calcium) and trace elements (e.g. iron), are essential nutrients that are required in minute amounts by the organism for proper growth and good health. Results from the last German National Nutrition Survey (NVS II)* uncovered a high prevalence of insufficient dietary intake of micronutrients in older adults aged 65 years and over in Germany. By means of blood analyses, our study has confirmed these critical results. This is a highly relevant issue, particularly in light of our growing aging population and the high societal relevance of successful healthy aging.
*Max Rubner-Institut: Nationale Verzehrsstudie II, Ergebnisbericht Teil 2 (2008). Die Bundesweite Befragung zur Ernährung von Jugendlichen und Erwachsenen.
MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?
Response: More than half (52%) of older adults aged 65 years and above in Germany have low vitamin D levels and more than a quarter (27%) have low vitamin B12 levels, signaling a public health concern. Our study also shows that the regular intake of vitamin-containing supplements is associated with a better vitamin status in older adults.
MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?
Response: Deficiencies in essential micronutrients such as vitamins, is a public health concern among older adults in Germany, especially for vitamins D and B12. In our study, the majority of older adults with suboptimal vitamin levels had in common that they were very old, physically inactive or frail. Our findings provide further rationale for screening these groups at high-risk for micronutrient deficiencies.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?
Response: Our study also shows that regular intake of vitamin-containing supplements goes along with improved levels of the respective vitamins. The possibility that regular and appropriately dosed vitamin supplementation might help older adults, otherwise unable to follow dietary guidelines, in satisfying their micronutrient requirements, is of major interest. This finding could stimulate research on metabolic pathways that link supplement intake, micronutrient status and disease state.
MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add?
Response: However, vitamin-containing supplements are not a universal remedy, and older people should primarily watch out for maintaining a healthy and nutritious diet. In general, the decision on taking dietary supplements on a regular basis should be made in consultation with a physician.
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Nutrients. 2017 Nov 23;9(12). pii: E1276. doi: 10.3390/nu9121276.
Prevalence and Predictors of Subclinical Micronutrient Deficiency in German Older Adults: Results from the Population-Based KORA-Age Study.
Conzade R1, Koenig W2,3,4, Heier M5,6, Schneider A7, Grill E8, Peters A9, Thorand B10.
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