Common vitamin deficiencies to look for with age

The VITL Nutrition Team / 31 Jan 2018

A new study looking at micronutrient levels in older adults has made a surprising discovery about the prevalence of some particular vitamin deficiencies in later life.


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In a study of over 1000 German adults aged 65 and over, 1 in 2 were found to have suboptimal levels of vitamin D, whilst 1 in 4 were found to have suboptimal levels of vitamin B12. 

It also found that 11% percent of older adults had suboptimal iron levels and almost 9% didn't have enough folate.

Symptoms of suboptimal vitamin D levels

Symptoms of vitamin D deficiency are often vague and non-specific, such as tiredness, low mood, frequently catching coughs and colds, and general aches and pains. Generally, however, it's completely asymptomatic.

What's the cause?

The researchers pointed out that the results are likely due to an insufficient intake of micronutrients from foods. Elderly people tend to eat less as they age, which makes it difficult to reach the recommended daily intake of many vitamins and minerals from food alone. 

Vitamin D, which is a common deficiency in all age groups in the UK, is mostly obtained through direct exposure to sunlight. As skin becomes thinner as we age, it becomes more difficult to produce vitamin D from sunlight. Additionally, any vitamin D we may get from food is also less well absorbed in older age as intestinal absorption becomes less efficient, which may go some way to explaining why vitamin B12 levels were found to be low amongst such a large portion of this age group. 

What should you do?

Aside from maintaining a healthy and nutritious diet, the study showed that "regular intake of vitamin-containing supplements goes along with improved levels of the respective vitamins".

Public Health England recommends that everyone in the UK supplement with at least 10 micrograms (400 IUV) of vitamin D throughout the winter months and identify the elderly as particularly at risk of falling short of government recommendations. Order 30 highly-absorbable soft gels here for just £4.95.

The best way to monitor vitamin D levels is with a simple blood test.

As the symptoms of low vitamin D levels can be difficult to identify, it's recommended that you test your levels throughout the year.  

With a VITL vitamin and mineral blood test, you'll find out your vitamin D, iron, magnesium, vitamin B12, and folate levels as well as receive specific recommendations from a qualified nutritionist.

Click below to order yours for just £49.95 and discover what's really going on inside your body.  

Discover what's really going on inside your body with a custom VITL vitamin & mineral blood test.

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