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January 8, 2003

Vitamin Supplementation in Elderly PersonsVitamin Supplementation in Elderly Persons

Author Affiliations

Letters Section Editor: Stephen J. Lurie, MD, PhD, Senior Editor.

JAMA. 2003;289(2):173. doi:10.1001/jama.289.2.173-a

To the Editor: In contrast to the results of Ms Graat and colleagues,1 we found that mineral supplementation could reduce the incidence of infections in institutionalized elderly people.2 Although we did not find significant reductions in the rate of acute respiratory infections in any group that received supplements, we found that patients who received a mineral (zinc plus selenium) supplement were more likely to have had no infections after 2 years (P = .06). Moreover, in a subsample of 140 patients who were vaccinated against influenza, we noted a higher number of serologically protected patients after 1 and 3 months in the groups receiving mineral supplements (P<.05). Finally, we observed that vitamin supplementation (containing vitamins E, ascorbic acid, and beta carotene) seemed to have a negative effect on antibody titers following the influenza vaccine (P<.05).

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