Poster Topical Area: Aging and Chronic Disease
Poster Board Number: 123
Objectives: Older adults are at risk of vitamin B12 deficiency due to age-related malabsorption of food-bound vitamin B12. The Canadian population is aging, so it is vital to ensure nutrient needs are met in to avoid adverse health outcomes such as irreversible neurodegeneration. This secondary analysis assessed the biochemical status and vitamin B12 content of menus served to a convenience sample of older adults (≥64 years) from five residential care facilities within the Lower Mainland of British Columbia, Canada.
Methods: Demographics, health information, anthropometric measures, and micronutrient supplement use were collected from participants' medical charts. Average vitamin B12 content of daily meals was assessed from customized 28-day cycle meal plans using CBORD® clinical nutrition assessment software and nutrient composition data from the Canadian Nutrient File. Serum vitamin B12 concentrations were measured with a chemiluminescence analyzer.
Results: Most participants (n=207) were of European descent (92%) and non-smokers (95%), with a mean ± SD BMI of 25.0 ± 5.4 kg/m2. Women were older than men: 86 vs. 83 years (p=0.003). Menus for 98% of men and 95% of women contained vitamin B12 above the EAR of 2.0 μg/d. Mean ± SD serum vitamin B12 concentration was 422 ± 209 pmol/L and did not differ by sex (p=0.190). Most participants (81%) were vitamin B12 sufficient (≥221 pmol/L). Vitamin B12 was not associated with length of time in residential care (ρ=0.084, p=0.231). Participants using oral micronutrient supplements (22%) had significantly higher vitamin B12 concentrations (p=0.024) than those not consuming a supplement. Only 4% of participants received a monthly intramuscular vitamin B12 injection, and they had similar vitamin B12 concentrations (543 ± 188 pmol/L; n=8) to those not receiving these shots (417 ± 209 pmol/L; n=199; p=0.074).
Conclusions: Almost all older adults in residential care received adequate vitamin B12 in their menu (96% ≥EAR from diet alone), and 81% had biochemical sufficiency (≥221 pmol/L). Vitamin B12 supplementation (oral or injection) was not common, and universal supplementation does not appear to be required.
Assistant Professor, Department of Applied Human Nutrition
Mount Saint Vincent University
Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada