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May-18-Essential-nutrient-requirements-of-the-elderly.pdf (214 KB)


Government-sponsored medical organizations in developed countries have established guidelines for daily nutritional requirements. For most nutrients there is general agreement surrounding these requirements, which are based on exhaustive scientific literature review. Differences in these recommendations exist because of genetic and environmental factors that result in differences in disease susceptibility, but also due to incomplete understanding of the roles of nutrients in disease prevention. This review briefly summarizes nutrient recommendations for older adults such as where those recommendations differ from those of younger adults; and includes areas of developing understanding such as the possible role of thiamine deficiency in patients with congestive heart failure, the need for some older adults to ingest absorbable forms of vitamin B12, the high prevalence of vitamin D deficiency, the potential role of vitamin K in bone health, the need for higher levels of protein intake in order to stimulate muscle protein synthesis as one ages, the role of calcium in osteoporosis, and the possible need for zinc supplementation in hospitalized patients.

Robert Skully