Vitamin research to assess nutrition policy for elderly

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Nutrition, Gerontology

A new EU-funded project, Vitage, is to examine the importance of
fat-soluble vitamins (vitamins A and E and carotenoids) in healthy
elderly men. Scientists hope that the research will provide a sound
scientific basis to implement a nutrition policy for elderly
Europeans, with specific dietary recommendations for fat-soluble
vitamin intake. They also suggest it could lead to the development
of vitamin-enriched food products designed specifically for this
age group.

A new EU-funded project, Vitage, is to examine the importance of fat-soluble vitamins (vitamins A and E and carotenoids) in healthy elderly men. Scientists hope that the research will provide a sound scientific basis to implement a nutrition policy for elderly Europeans, with specific dietary recommendations for fat-soluble vitamin intake. They also suggest it could lead to the development of vitamin-enriched food products designed specifically for this age group. The researchers claim that the proportion of elderly citizens in the EU is increasing, and it is therefore important to ensure that people are as healthy as they can be in old age. Understanding the changes in status, metabolism and functions of fat-soluble vitamins that may occur during healthy ageing may lead to changes in vitamin needs for elderly people, suggest the team. These vitamins are especially important in the elderly because of their protective properties, such as the maintenance of an efficient immune system and oxidant-antioxidant balance, which are known to fail with ageing. Epidemiological studies have shown that elderly people do not receive the recommended dietary allowances, especially for vitamins A and E. The aim of Vitage is to describe the age-related evolution of vitamins A and E and carotenoid status in relation to immune function, and to investigate the impact of dietary vitamin E and carotenoid depletion and repletion. The researchers at INRA in France will also look at retinoic acid supplementation on the immune response. For the project, one hundred male volunteers aged between 20 and 75 are being recruited in Austria, Spain and France. Their immune status will be determined at baseline, after three weeks of vitamin E or carotenoid depletion (by following a diet which is low in vitamin E or carotenoids) and after 5 weeks of vitamin E or carotenoid repletion. In addition to providing information on the effects of ageing on status, metabolism and function of fat-soluble vitamins, the study will provide a geographical comparison of these effects among three European countries. For more information on project QLK1-1999-00830, contact Dr Edmond Rock : Edmond.Rock@clermont.inra.fr

Related topics: Research

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