Given the potentially devastating effects of vitamin B12 deficiency on the nervous system, the new uncertainties about how best to define vitamin B12 nutritional status and the high prevalence of a condition (atrophic gastritis) that can affect vitamin B12 metabolism in elderly people, it seems imprudent to have lowered the 1989 RDA for vitamin B12 in those age 51 and older. Until more data are available, an RDA of 3.0 lug seems safer for elderly people.
Vitamin A requirements may be lower in the elderly than in younger people because of deceased clearance of the vitamin by hepatic and other peripheral tissues, and possible increased absorption from the gastrointestinal tract. There is no evidence that carotenoid metabolism is affected by age.
Calcium absorption efficiency falls with advancing age. Studies on calcium
supplementation alone seem to show that calcium intakes of more than 800
mg/day will not result in preservation of bone mineral. However, in
combination with vitamin D supplementation, calcium intakes in the range
of 1-1.5 g/day, have been shown to be of benefit in both hip and spine sites
(in terms of preservation of bone mineral).
There is no evidence that other mineral requirements (except for lower iron requirements in postmenopausal females) are different in elderly versus younger individuals.
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