Dietary supplement use in old age: associations with childhood IQ, current cognition and health

L J Whalley, H C Fox, H A Lemmon, S J Duthie, A R Collins, H Peace, John Starr, I J Deary

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Aims Dietary supplement (DS) use is actively promoted among old people but there is little evidence in favour of DS use or information about the demographic, health and cognitive characteristics of DS users.

Method We examined 176 healthy, old people without dementia all born in 1921 and living independently in the community. IQ scores aged about 11 years were available for all subjects. DS users were more often female, had a lower BMI and were taking fewer prescribed medications than non-users.

Results Usual dietary intake, as measured by food frequency questionnaire, did not differ between DS users and DS non-users. DS users were seen to have higher Vitamin C (p < 0.05), alpha-carotene (p < 0.05) and lower gamma-tocopherol (p < 0.001) and homocysteine (p < 0.01). DS users did not differ from DS non-users in years of education, indices of occupational code, current socio-economic category or parameters of cardiovascular or respiratory functions. DS users had higher (p < 0.05) childhood IQ scores but did not differ in current Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) score or performance on Raven's Progressive Matrices (RPM) either before or after adjustment for childhood IQ.

Conclusions DS users may enjoy somewhat better general health than non-users but the source of this difference is unknown. Possible health benefits of DS use merit further study. Copyright (C) 2003 John Wiley Sons, Ltd.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)769-776
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2003

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • cognition
  • ageing
  • longitudinal assessment
  • normal individuals
  • diet
  • vitamins
  • childhood intelligence
  • RISK
  • ACID


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