Older people need more vitamins

Older people need more vitamins

In 1870, the average life expectancy was 49, but today the average American can expect to live to the age of 75. As life expectancy increases; the relationship between nutrition and the aging process takes on greater significance. Good nutrition may play a crucial role in allowing people to remain active, productive, and healthy in older years. Unfortunately, poor dietary intakes, age-related physiological changes and drug-nutrient interactions have an adverse effect upon the nutritional status of older Americans.

Recent research has revealed that this population is at risk for several vitamin deficiencies, and that the current Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDA) may not fully reflect the micronutrient needs of older Americans. In addition, the RDA does not take into account the role that vitamins and minerals may play in reducing the risk of chronic diseases common to the aging population.

Studies produced these pertinent findings:

* At the same vitamin C intake level, elderly, non-smoking men had lower plasma vitamin C levels than younger men. This was also observed with beta carotene among elderly smokers. These studies support the hypothesis that the requirement for vitamin C and possibly beta carotene may increase with age.

* Dietary micronutrient intake of older people and/or the current RDA for one or more micronutrients may be too low to support optimal immunity in older individuals.

* The prevalence of vitamin B12, vitamin Be, and folate deficiencies among the elderly population is much more common than previously believed.

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