Ageing, nutritional status and immune response.


Buzina-Suboticanec K, Buzina R, Stavljenic A, Farley TM, Haller J, Bergman-Markovic B, Gorajscan M.




Int J Vitam Nutr Res


The effects of vitamin supplementation on the age-related decline in immune function was studied in a population of elderly subjects with a high prevalence of low and deficient serum values of vitamin C, vitamin E, riboflavin and pyridoxin, as well as iron and zinc. The immune function was examined by measuring delayed cutaneous hypersensitivity (DCH) after intradermal application of a set of 7 antigens in 72 subjects aged 60-89 years living in two homes for the elderly. The results showed an almost linear statistically significant decline in the DCH test with age (p < 0.01). Vitamin supplementation for a period of 10 weeks significantly improved the biochemical parameters for those vitamins and the age related decline in the DCH test was no longer statistically significant (P > 0.05). No statistically significant changes in DCH were observed in the placebo group. The results of this study suggest that nutrition may be an important determinant of immunocompetence in the elderly.