Nutrition for Special Groups 3(3+0)

Lesson 28: Nutrition for the Elderly


Vitamin A
Only vitamin A is absorbed and stored more efficiently by the gastro intestinal tract and liver of an elderly person. Conversion of beta carotene to vitamin A is less efficient but it is important in delaying some age related diseases.

Vitamin D
Sources of vitamin D are few and many elderly people do not expose themselves to sunlight. Moreover formation of vitamin D by the skin and its conversion to its active form by the kidneys is less efficient in the elderly people. The RDA for vitamin D is doubled to 10 µg/day.

Vitamin B6
The metabolism of B6 is altered during old age and the requirement increases. Vitamin B6 deficiency impairs immune response.
Homocystein, an amino acid, is recognized as a risk factor for heart disease and stroke. The levels of homo cysteine increase with a deficiency of B6, B12 or folate. Without B6 the body cannot convert homocysteine to cystathiomine and without folate and B12 it cannot convert it to methionine.

Vitamin B12
B12 deficiency is particularly common among those with atrophic gastritis. Digestion does not take place properly in the inflamed stomach and the excessive bacterial growth also uses up this vitamin. Deficiency of this vitamin can lead to neurological problems and therefore it is important to take sufficient B12.

Absorption of folate is also compromised by atrophic gastritis. Moreover many medications like antacids, diuretics and anti-inflammatory drugs also influence folate absorption, use and excretion.

Last modified: Tuesday, 8 May 2012, 6:57 AM