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Circulatory and urinary B-vitamin responses to multivitamin supplement ingestion differ between older and younger adults

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posted on 2023-05-03, 19:01 authored by Pankaja Sharma, Soo Min Han, Nicola Gillies, Eric Thorstensen, Michael Goy, Matthew BarnettMatthew Barnett, Nicole Roy, David Cameron-Smith, Amber MilanAmber Milan
Multivitamin and mineral (MVM) supplements are frequently used amongst older populations to improve adequacy of micronutrients, including B-vitamins, but evidence for improved health outcomes are limited and deficiencies remain prevalent. Although this may indicate poor efficacy of supplements, this could also suggest the possibility for altered B-vitamin bioavailability and metabolism in older people. This open-label, single-arm acute parallel study, conducted at the Liggins Institute Clinical Research Unit in Auckland, compared circulatory and urinary B-vitamer responses to MVM supplementation in older (70.1 ± 2.7 y, n = 10 male, n = 10 female) compared to younger (24.2 ± 2.8 y, n = 10 male, n = 10 female) participants for 4 h after the ingestion of a single dose of a commercial MVM supplement and standardized breakfast. Older adults had a lower area under the curve (AUC) of postprandial plasma pyridoxine (p = 0.02) and pyridoxal-5′phosphate (p = 0.03) forms of vitamin B6 but greater 4-pyridoxic acid AUC (p = 0.009). Urinary pyridoxine and pyridoxal excretion were higher in younger females than in older females (time × age × sex interaction, p < 0.05). Older adults had a greater AUC increase in plasma thiamine (p = 0.01), riboflavin (p = 0.009), and pantothenic acid (p = 0.027). In older adults, there was decreased plasma responsiveness of the ingested (pyridoxine) and active (pyridoxal-5′phosphate) forms of vitamin B6, which indicated a previously undescribed alteration in either absorption or subsequent metabolic interconversion. While these findings cannot determine whether acute B6 responsiveness is adequate, this difference may have potential implications for B6 function in older adults. Although this may imply higher B vitamin substrate requirements for older people, further work is required to understand the implications of postprandial differences in availability.


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© 2020 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (


  • English

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Sharma, P., Han, S. M., Gillies, N., Thorstensen, E. B., Goy, M., Barnett, M. P. G., Roy, N. C., Cameron-Smith, D., & Milan, A. M. (2020). Circulatory and urinary B-vitamin responses to multivitamin supplement ingestion differ between older and younger adults. Nutrients, 12(11), 3529.

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