Effects of 6-month multivitamin supplementation on serum concentrations of alpha-tocopherol, beta-carotene, and vitamin C in healthy elderly women.Int J Vitam Nutr Res. 2004 Mar; 74(2):161-8.IJ
The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of supplementation with nutritional doses of antioxidant nutrients on the serum concentrations of ascorbic acid, alpha-tocopherol, and beta-carotene in healthy elderly women.
The study was performed as a randomized placebo-controlled, double-blind trial. Two hundred forty-one free-living, healthy women aged 60 years and older were recruited by newspaper advertisement in Hanover, Germany and its environs. As 21 women dropped out, data of 220 women (aged 60-91 years median 63 years) were included in this evaluation. Subjects were randomly assigned to receive either a multivitamin/mineral or placebo capsule with identical appearance for six months containing 36 mg 36mg vitamin E, 150 mg vitamin C, and 9 mg beta-carotene. Serum concentrations of vitamin C, alpha-tocopherol, and beta-carotene were measured initially and after six months of supplementation. Data were analyzed with the SPSS 10.0 program.
Median serum concentrations of alpha-carotene and vitamin E increased significantly in the supplemented group (p=0.000), whereas no significant modifications were observed in the placebo group. Median vitamin C concentration of the supplemented group did not differ from baseline after intervention, but that of the placebo group was significantly decreased after six months (p=0.000). In comparison to estimated desirable serum concentrations of > 30 micromol/L vitamin E, 50 micromol/L vitamin C, and > 0.4 micromol/l beta-carotene at baseline, lower concentrations were found in 21.1%, 6.9%, and 1.0% of all subjects, respectively. After supplementation none of the members of the supplemented group had tocopherol concentrations below 30 micromol/L and only one woman of the supplemented group had a serum beta-carotene concentration below 0.4 micromol/L. The change in serum concentrations of vitamin C and E in the supplemented group depended on the status at baseline.
A six-month supplementation with physiological doses of antioxidant vitamins improves the blood concentration of these nutrients even in relatively well-nourished elderly women or, as seen for vitamin C, prevents reduction of serum concentrations. Prevalence of suboptimal serum concentrations can be reduced.