The role of vitamins in the diet of the elderly I. Fat-soluble vitamins

Open access


Following a discussion on the daily energy and protein requirements of elderly people, the authors will go on to talk about vitamin needs and the role of the four fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K). They point out that vitamin requirements in old age do not essentially differ from adult people’s, but they must take account of the fact that the body’s vitamin stores might get filled up, which may reduce vitamin needs, on the one part, but the altered physiological processes may increase them, on the other. Regarding the case of fat-soluble vitamins, reduced fat absorption, decreased vitamin storage capacity of the liver, reduced dietary intake, partial deficiency of digestive enzymes, and absorption disorders in the intestines may all lead to vitamin deficiencies. Problems may also arise due to multiple vitamin overdose developed either as a consequence of overconsumption of vitamin tablets or because the body’s vitamin stores are constantly filled up to maximum capacity. Positive and negative changes resulting from the consumption of several times the daily dose recommendations are covered as well. The authors show that A, D, E, or K vitamin deficiency occurs very rarely in the case of a normal diet; however, great care must be taken in order to meet vitamin D and, simultaneously, calcium requirements so that to avoid osteoporosis and an increased risk of bone fractures in elderly people. The paper discusses the fat-soluble vitamin needs of the elderly and, where necessary, specifies the requirements for men and women separately, while also touching upon those foodstuffs and methods that can contribute to the optimal satisfaction of the elderly people’s vitamin needs.

[1] S. Abraham, M. D. Carrol, C. M. Dresser, Dietary intake of persons 1–74 years of age in the United States. Advanced data from vital and health statistics of the National Center of Health Statistics. G. Rockville, MD, Public Health Service, (1977) March 30.

[2] L. A. G. Armas, B.W. Hollis, R. P. Heaney, Vitamin D2 is much less effective as vitamin D3 in humans. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, 89. (2004) 5387–5391.

[3] H. A. Bischoff-Ferrari, B. Dawson-Hughes, W. C. Willett, H. B. Staehelin, M. G. Bazemore, R. Y. Zee, J. B. Wong, Effect of vitamin D of falls: a meta analysis. Journal of the American Medical Association, 291. (2004) 1999–2006.

[4] G. Block, Dietary guidelines and results of food consumption surveys. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 53. (1991) 356–357.

[5] S. L. Booth, K. L. Trucker, H. Chen, M. T. Hannan, Dietary vitamin K intakes are associated with hip fracture but not with bone mineral density in elderly man and women. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 71. (2000) 1201–1208.

[6] W. W. Campbell, T. A. Trappe, R. R. Wolfe, W. J. Ewans, The recommended dietary allowance from protein may not be adequate for older people to maintain skeletal muscle. Journals of Gerontology Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences, 56. (2001) 373–380.

[7] M. C. Chapuy, M. E. Arlot, P. D. Delmans, P. J. Meunier, Effect of calcium and cholecalciferol treatment for three years of hip fractures in elderly women. British Medical Journal, 308. (1994) 1081–1082.

[8] J. Csapó, Zs. Csapó Kiss, Élelmiszerkémia [Food chemistry], Mezőgazda Kiadó, Budapest, 2004.

[9] A. Drewnowski, J. M. Schultz, Impact of aging behaviours, food choices, nutrition and health status. Journal of Nutrition Health and Aging, 5. (2001) 75–79.

[10] J. A. Foote, A. R. Giuliano, R. B. Harris, Older adults need guidance to meet nutritional recommendations. Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 19. (2000) 628–640.

[11] F. M. Gloth, C. E. Smith, B. W. Hollins, J. D. Tobin, Functional improvement with vitamin D replenishment in a cohort of frail, vitamin D deficient older people. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 43. (1995) 1269–1271.

[12] R. Gordon, The alarming history of medicine. St. Martin’s Griffin, New York, (1993).

[13] R. R. Hajjar, Z. N. Pharm, Vitamin disorders. In: J. E. Morley, D. R. Thomas (eds), Geriatric nutrition. CRC Press, Taylor and Francis Group, (2007) 137–178.

[14] J. Hallfrisch, D. Muller, D. Drinkwater, J. Tobin, R. Andres, Continuing diet trends in men: the Baltimore longitudinal study of aging (1961–1987). Journal of Gerontology, 45. (1990) 186–191.

[15] M. F. Holick, McCollum Award Lecture 1994: Vitamin D: new horizon for the 21st century. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 60. (1994) 619–630.

[16] K. Hoppner, W. E. Phillips, T. K. Murray, J. S. Campbell, Survey of liver vitamin A stores of Canadians. Canadian Medical Association, 99. (1968) 983–986.

[17] C. S. Ireton-Jones, Evaluation of energy expenditures in obese patients. Nutrition in Clinical Practice, 4. (1989) 127–129.

[18] K. A. Johnson, M. A. Bernard, K. Fundeburg, Vitamin nutrition in older adults. Clinics in Geriatric Medicine, 18. (2002) 860–872.

[19] H. Kamel, R. R. Hajjar, Osteoporosis for the home care physician. II. Management. Journal of the American Medical Directors Association, 5. (2003) 259–262.

[20] M. Kneissel, A. Studer, R. Cortesi, M. Susa, Retinoid induced bone thinning is caused by subperiosteal osteoclast activity in adult rodents. Bone, 36. (2005) 202–214.

[21] S. D. Krasinski, R. M. Russel, C. L. Otradovec, Vitamin A and E intake: relationship to fasting plasma retinol, retinol-binding protein, retinyl ester, carotene and alpha tocoferol levels in the elderly and young adults. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 49. (1989) 112–120.

[22] M. M. Mathews-Roth, Beta-carotene therapy for erythropoietic protoporphyria and other photosensitive diseases. Biochimie, 68. (1986) 875–884.

[23] R. B. McGandy, C. H. Barrows, A. Spanias, A. Meredity, J. L. Stone, A. H. Norris, Nutrient intake and energy expenditure in men of different ages. Journal of Gerontology, 21. (1966) 581–587.

[24] J. E. Morley, D. R. Thomas, Geriatric nutrition. CRC Press, Taylor and Francis Group, (2007) 1–571.

[25] Y. Park, D. J. Hunter, D. Spiegelman, L. Berkvist, F. Berrino, P. A. van den Brandt, J. E. Buring, Dietary fiber intake and risk of colorectal cancer: a pooled analysis of prospective cohort studies. Journal of the American Medical Association, 294. (2005) 2849–2857.

[26] L. C. Pauling, Vitamin C and the common cold. (1970). W. H. Freeman, Retrieved 12 August 2016 – via Open Library. San Francisco (2016).

[27] C. M. Rohde, H. DeLuca, Bone resorption activity of all-trans retinoic acid is independent of vitamin D in rats. Journal of Nutrition, 133. (2003) 777–783.

[28] W. W. Souba, Nutritional support, New England Journal of Medicine, 336. (1997) 41–48.

[29] L. M. Steffen, D. R. Jacobs, J. Stevens, E. Shahar, T. Carithers, A. R. Folsom, Associations of whole grain, refined-grain, and fruit and vegetable consumption with risk of all-cause mortality and incident coronary artery disease and ischemic stroke: the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) Study. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 78. (2003) 383–390.

[30] P. Szulc, M. C. Chaupy, P. J. Meunier, FERUM undercarboxilated osteocalcin in marker of the risk of hip fractures in elderly women. Journal of Clinical Investigation, 91. (1993) 174–176.

[31] D. R. Thomas, Nutritional requirements in older adults. In: J. E. Morley, D. R. Thomas (eds), Geriatric Nutrition. CRC Press, Taylor and Francis Group, (2007) 103–121.

[32] M. K. Thomas, M. B. Demay, Vitamin D deficiency and disorders of vitamin D metabolism. Endocrinology and Metabolism Clinics of North America, 29. (2000) 611–627.

[33] C. Vermeer, M. H. J. Knapen, K. S. G. Jie, Physiologic importance of extra-hepatic vitamin K-dependent carboxilation reaction. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 669. (1992) 21–33.

[34] P. Wakimoto, G. Block, Dietary intake dietary patterns, and changes with age: an epidemiological perspective. Journals of Gerontology Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences. 56. (2001) 65–80.

[35] A. Wolk, J. E. Manson, M. J. Stampfer, G. A. Colditz, F. B. Hu, F. E. Speizer, C. H. Hennekens, W. C. Willett, Long-term intake of dietary fiber and decreased risk of coronary heart disease among women. Journal of the American Medical Association, 281. (1999) 1998–2004.

Journal Information


All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 212 212 74
PDF Downloads 51 51 22