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Vitamin B-12 deficiency is prevalent in older adults in Elderly Nutrition Programs in Georgia



Vitamin B-12 deficiency is prevalent in older adults in Elderly Nutrition Programs in Georgia



FASEB Journal 16(5): A746



We determined the prevalence of vitamin B-12 deficiency and the effects of oral vitamin B-12 in older adults in Georgia Elderly Nutrition Programs (n=150, mean age=76, 19% male, 81% female, 71% Caucasian, 29% African American). In the subsample with normal renal function (n=130), 26% had probable vitamin B-12 deficiency (serum methylmalonic acid, MMA, >271 nM) and 7% had high serum homocysteine (HC>13.9 uM). Compared to those with normal MMA, those with high MMA were (p<.05) older (79 vs 75 yrs), were less likely to consume at least 6 mcg synthetic vitamin B-12 daily (24 vs 48%; RDA=2.4 mcg/d), and were more likely to have poor cognition (41 vs 23%; Katzman et al., 1983). When controlled for age, ethnicity, and serum creatinine, high MMA, but not high HC, was associated with poor cognition (p<.05). Those with high MMA received oral vitamin B-12 for 3 months (1,000 mcg/d) which decreased the prevalence of high MMA from 100% to 20% and high HC from 24% to 3%. In summary, intakes of synthetic vitamin B-12 well above the RDA did not prevent vitamin B-12 deficiency. Also, poor compliance may have contributed to incomplete reversal of high MMA.

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