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Estimation of intake and status of vitamin A, E and folate in older European adults

The objective of this study was to report selected dietary intake and vitamin status at baseline of volunteers participating in the ZENITH study and the correlation of vitamin status with Zn. A multi-centre prospective intervention study employing a randomised double-blind design was performed in Clermont-Ferrand, Theix (France), Coleraine (Northern Ireland), Grenoble (France) and Rome (Italy). 387 healthy middle-aged (55-70y) and older (70-87y) men and women participated in this study. Dietary intake was assessed by means of a validated 4-d recall record. Fasting blood samples were simultaneously analysed for retinol and a-tocopherol by HLPC method.

Erthrocyte folates were measured by a competitive immunoassay with direct chemiluminescence detection on an automatised immunoanalyzer. In all centres, men had a significantly (P<0.0001) higher mean nutrient intake than women. Comparison between age groups showed that older individuals had significantly lower intakes of macro- and selected micronutrients than middle-aged subjects (P<0.0001). A high fat intake (from 36% to 40% of total energy) was observed in all examined groups. In relation to biochemical measures of vitamin status, all parameters were above their respective cut-off values for normality and thus, none of the subjects had biochemical evidence of deficiency of these selected vitamins. A moderate correlation has been found with plasma vitamin A and serum Zn (r=0.12, P<0.05) or red blood cell Zn (r=0.12, P<0.01) and with erythrocyte folates and red blood cell Zn (r=0.11, P<0.05). There were only moderate differences in the nutrient intake of the ZENITH study volunteers among the four European centres. Their biochemical status for retinol, a-tocopherol and folate appeared adequate.

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