[Prevalence of vitamin B-12 deficiency in older adults].Rev Med Chil. 2010 Jan; 138(1):44-52.RM
There is a correlation between aging and the decrease of plasma levels of vitamin B-12.
To determine the prevalence of vitamin B-12 and folate deficiency and its hematological impact among older adults (AM).
MATERIAL AND METHODS
Cross-sectional study, in 1028 subjects aged 65 to 87years, living in community and evaluated between 2005 and 2008. Percentile distribution of vitamin B-12, folate, hemoglobin, packed red cell volume and mean cell volume by gender and age were analyzed. Deficiency was defined as vitamin B-12 levels < 148 pmol/L, marginal deficiency as vitamin B-12 levels < 221 pmol/L, anemia was defined as a hemoglobin < 13 and 12 g/dL among men and women, respectively.
The prevalence of vitamin B-12 deficiency was 12% and the figure for marginal deficiency was 25.4%. Males were more affected than females (p < 0.001). The frequency of anemia was 8.6%o, and was higher among women (p = 0.004).
There is a high prevalence of full blown and marginal deficit of vitamin B-12 among the elderly. This deficiency should be considered for correction through public nutrition policies.