Older Individuals and B-Vitamin Deficiencies

August 25, 2004

A recent study of 279 older women who received 5 home-delivered meals per week shows that they may be low on key nutrients especially if they are on 6 or more drugs and/or a diuretic. Over half of these women were on 6 or more drugs each day, Those on diuretics plus 6 or more drugs each day were at a much greater risk of having an inadequate supply of both thiamin and niacin. Low levels of thiamin can quickly lead to a loss of appetite and cause low nutrient intake (putting you at risk for a cross section of illnesses and infection). This can quickly lead symptoms such as fatigue and anorexia, which can be overlooked as symptoms of disease instead of inadequate nutrient intake. The study is published in the online August 2004, Supplement edition of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association.

Low Magnesium Intake Leads to Depression

Studies have found decreased levels of magnesium in depressed patients. The American diet is low in magnesium and a magnesium deficiency can develop quickly because of its poor absorption and rapid and significant use by the body. Depression has recently been recognized in Magnesium deficiency. Depression is a widespread public health concern that is frequently not diagnosed and is often under-treated. In this new study 85 pre-menopausal women were analyzed to gage the relationship between magnesium and depression. Magnesium intake was averaged from diet records and depression was rated according to the Zung scale. On the Zung scale depression is a score of 50 or higher, these women averaged a score of 22 to 50, so no one was considered depressed. The study found a significant relationship between magnesium levels and depression. As the Zung scores for depression got higher, the magnesium intake was lower. The correlation between low intake of magnesium and worsening depression may be quite strong. The study as published in the online August 2004, Supplement edition of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association.

Few Eat anywhere near the Recommended "5" Servings of Fruits and Vegetables

A new Nielsen Survey of 3,000 households nationwide last February estimates that only 12% of the American public eats the recommended 5 or more servings of fruit and vegetables each day; the recommended amount to reap the maximum health benefits. 46% eats one or two servings daily and 37% eat 3 to 4 servings per day.

Commentary by Jerry Hickey, R.Ph.

If it is hard for you to consume 5 or hopefully more servings of fresh fruits and vegetables each day, then try adding a Green or a Red product to your diet to round it out.