Low vitamin B-12 concentrations are frequently observed among older adults. Malabsorption is hypothesized to be an important cause of vitamin B-12 inadequacy, but serum vitamin B-12 may also be differently affected by vitamin B-12 intake depending on food source. We examined associations between dietary sources of vitamin B-12 (meat, fish and shellfish, eggs, dairy) and serum vitamin B-12, using cross-sectional data of 600 Dutch community-dwelling adults (≥65 years). Dietary intake was assessed with a validated food frequency questionnaire. Vitamin B-12 concentrations were measured in serum. Associations were studied over tertiles of vitamin B-12 intake using P for trend, by calculating prevalence ratios (PRs), and splines. Whereas men had significantly higher vitamin B-12 intakes than women (median (25th–75th percentile): 4.18 (3.29–5.38) versus 3.47 (2.64–4.40) µg/day), serum vitamin B-12 did not differ between the two sexes (mean ± standard deviation (SD): 275 ± 104 pmol/L versus 290 ± 113 pmol/L). Higher intakes of dairy, meat, and fish and shellfish were significantly associated with higher serum vitamin B-12 concentrations, where meat and dairy—predominantly milk were the most potent sources. Egg intake did not significantly contribute to higher serum vitamin B-12 concentrations. Thus, dairy and meat were the most important contributors to serum vitamin B-12, followed by fish and shellfish.

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doi.org/10.3390/nu7095364, hdl.handle.net/1765/88748
Department of Internal Medicine

Brouwer-Brolsma, E.M, Dhonukshe-Rutten, R.A.M, van Wijngaarden, J.P, van der Zwaluw, N.L, van der Velde, N, & de Groot, L.C.P.G.M. (2015). Dietary sources of vitamin B-12 and their association with vitamin B-12 status markers in healthy older adults in the B-PROOF study. Nutrients, 7(9), 7781–7797. doi:10.3390/nu7095364