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Markers of B-vitamin deficiency and frailty in older women *

Objective: To evaluate the association between markers of vitamins B12, B6 and folate deficiency and the geriatric syndrome of frailty.Design: Cross-sectional study of baseline measures from the combined Women’s Health and Aging Studies.Setting: Baltimore, Maryland.Participants: Seven hundred three community-dwelling women, aged 70–79.Measurements: Frailty was defined by five-component screening criteria that include weight, grip strength, endurance, physical activity and walking speed measurements and modeled as binary and 3-level polytomous outcomes. Independent variables serum vitamin B6, vitamin B12, methylmalonic acid, total homocysteine, cystathionine and folate were modeled continuously and as abnormal versus normal.Results: Serum biomarker levels varied significantly by race. All analyses were race-stratified and results are reported only for Caucasian women due to small African American sample size. In polytomous logistic regression models of 3-level frailty, Caucasian women with increasing MMA, defined either continuously or using a predefined threshold, had 40–60% greater odds of being prefrail (p-values < 0.07) and 1.66–2.33 times greater odds of being frail (p-values < 0.02) compared to nonfrails after adjustment for age, education, low serum carotenoids, alcohol intake, cardiovascular disease and renal impairment. Both binary and polytomous frailty models evaluating vitamin B12 as the main exposure estimated odds ratios that were similar in trend yet slightly less significant than the MMA results.Conclusions: These results suggest that vitamin B12 deficiency may contribute to the frailty syndrome in community-dwelling older women. Future studies are needed to explore these relationships longitudinally.

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As with any procedure, there could be pain or other substantial risks involved. These concerns should be discussed with your health care provider prior to any treatment so that you have proper informed consent and understand that there are no guarantees to healing.

THE INFORMATION IN THIS WEBSITE IS OFFERED FOR GENERAL EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY AND DOES NOT IMPLY OR GIVE MEDICAL ADVICE. No Doctor/Patient relationship shall be deemed to have arisen simply by reading the information contained on these pages, and you should consult with your personal physician/care giver regarding your medical treatment before undergoing any sort of treatment or therapy.

Published on 09-18-2012