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VITAMIN C STATUS IN AN ELDERLY POPULATION HOSPITALIZED IN A GERIATRIC REHABILITATION UNIT

C. Chen, O. Chermak, V. Has, H. Belhadj-Tahar, N. Sadeg

J Aging Res Clin Practice 2013;2(2):197-199

Background: Malnutrition and vitamin deficiencies are frequent in the elderly, especially after occurrence of deterioration in their health status. The aim of this study is to determine the vitamin C status as well and it relation with biological markers of inflammatory and nutritional status in patients hospitalized in a geriatric rehabilitation unit of a general hospital. Methods: This prospective study covers a population of 36 elderly admitted in the rehabilitation unit during one month. At admission, the blood concentrations of Vitamin C, CRP, Albumin and prealbumin were measured. Statistic studies were performed to assess the vitamin C status in this population and to determine the relation of vitamin C with the biological markers. Results: Most patients (94%) have biological criteria for malnutrition (serum albumin concentration <35g/L). Only four patients (11%) have levels of vitamin C over 5mg/L and these patients have also biological criteria for mild malnutrition. The AA levels observed in this study (the mean serum AA concentration in this study was 2.7 mg/L and the median is 1.95 mg/L) were compatible with vitamin C deficiency. Vitamin C deficiency was slightly correlated with biological criteria of inflammatory and malnutrition syndromes; with correlation index R2 of (vitamin C vs CRP) 0.20; R2 of (vitamin C vs albumin) = 0.38 and R2 of (vitamin C vs prealbumin) 0.32. Therefore CRP, albumin and prealbumin are not reliable predictive biological criteria for vitamin C deficiency. These results suggest that a systematic higher intake of vitamin C in the elderly may be particularly interesting after acute health status deterioration. Finally, screening for vitamin C status should be included in the assessment of the general health status of the elderly population.

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