Persons over the age of 65 are virtually guaranteed to have insufficient levels of at least one micronutrient in their blood.
And odds are they are deficient in several critical micronutrients.
This is the conclusion of an investigation conducted by researchers at the Helmholtz Zentrum München, as part of the population-based KORA-Age Study in the region of Augsburg.
Shortages found on every nutrient studied
Their analysis focused on levels of four micronutrients: vitamin D, folate, vitamin B12 and iron.
“The results are very clear,” explains first author Romy Conzade. “Fifty-two percent of the examined older adults had vitamin D levels below 50 nmol/L and thus had a sub-optimal vitamin D status.”
The scientists also observed shortages with regard to all of the other micronutrients studied.
EPI director Professor Annette Peters puts the data into context:
“By means of blood analyses, the current study has confirmed the critical results of the last German National Nutrition Survey, which revealed an insufficient intake of micronutrients from foods.
“This is a highly relevant issue, particularly in light of our growing aging population.”
Experts agree that the best way for anyone to maintain optimal levels of micronutirents is organically with appropriate foods; however, for the past 20 years, study after study has determined this is virtually impossible.
Modern living creates micronutrient challenges
There are three main roadblocks to acquiring adequate nutrients through diet alone:
First, produce today contain less nutrients by volume than decades ago. This is due to widespread nutrient depletion of farmlands around the globe.
Secondly, people today are more dependent on packaged, processed or “fast” foods—all of which typically contain less nutrients than “made from scratch” foods.
Last of all, environmental factors such as pollution, chemical exposure and prescription drugs drastically deplete critical nutrients from the body.
When considering all these factors, regular supplementing appears to be the best way to address what has become an extremely serious issue.
“Our study also shows that regular intake of vitamin-containing supplements goes along with improved levels of the respective vitamins,” says Barbara Thorand, lead author of the study.
“However, vitamin-containing supplements are not a universal remedy, and particularly older people should watch out for maintaining a healthy and nutritious diet.”
In this context, the authors say their next objective is to continue investigating the metabolic pathways that link supplement intake, micronutrient status and disease states.
Final results for the four micronutrients tested include:
- 50% of persons aged 65 and above had sub-optimal levels of vitamin D in the blood.
- 25% had sub-optimal levels of vitamin B12.
- 11% had sub-optimal levels of iron.
- Almost 9% had sub-optimal levels of folate.
Food is always the best way to acquire nutrients; however, if you have to use a dietary supplement to fill a shortfall, be sure to choose a supplement that is made from real foods.
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