[Vitamin B12, folic acid and mental function in the elderly].Invest Clin. 2005 Mar; 46(1):53-63.IC
Elderly people is a vulnerable population group to specific nutrient deficiencies as vitamin B12 and folic acid, which are closely related to mental functions deterioration, especially of cognitive functions. This study was aimed to measure B12 vitamin and folic acid indicators and to establish relationships to mental function. 53 elderly, older than 60 years, living in a geriatric home were assessed. The dietary intake was evaluated by the direct weighed method, serum B12 vitamin and folic acid by radioimmunoanalysis and mental function by Foltein's mini-mental test. Dietary intake for Vit B12 was adequate and deficient for folic acid while serum levels were within normal range. Vitamin B12 levels were at marginal or deficiency values in 26,4% of the elderly and folic acid deficiency was present in 43.4%. 49% of the elderly had mental function alterations and B12 vitamin levels were significantly lower in this group. A positive association between age and mental function (elderly below 80 years had lower risk of mental impairment) and between serum B12 and mental function were found. Elderly were at risk of deficiency for both vitamins and age and mental function were associated to this risk. Further evaluation including other nutrients should be performed.