Folate and Vitamin B12 Status in a Healthy Elderly Population

Philip J. Garry, James S. Goodwin, William C. Hunt

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86 Scopus citations


Folic acid and vitamin B12 nutritional status was examined in a group of 270 healthy elderly individuals using both dietary and biochemical measures. Of these 40 per cent had dietary intakes of folic acid that were less than half the recommended dietary allowance of 400 μg/day, and 13 per cent had intakes of less than half the recommended dietary allowance for vitamin B12 (3 μg/day). However, only 8 per cent had low plasma folates (<3.0 ng/ml) and only 3 per cent had RBC folates less than 140 ng/ml. Plasma true cobalamin levels less than 220 pg/ml were found in 3 per cent. None of these individuals showed any clinical signs of folate and/or vitamin B12 deficiency, and mean corpuscular volumes were not significantly greater than those for the entire population (90.8 ± 4.1 fl). The correlations of intakes of folic acid and vitamin B12 with plasma or erythrocyte levels were moderate (about 0.5). It was also clear that those taking supplements had significantly greater blood levels than those not taking supplements, although the benefit of higher plasma or erythrocyte levels of these nutrients is not clear. The data indicate that folate and vitamin B12 status in free‐living healthy elderly is not a major medical problem. 1984 The American Geriatrics Society

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)719-726
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the American Geriatrics Society
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1984
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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