Conventional Foods, Followed by Dietary Supplements and Fortified Foods, are the Key Sources of Vitamin D, Vitamin B6, and Selenium Intake in Dutch Participants of the NU-AGE Study

Conventional foods, followed by dietary supplements and fortified foods, are the key sources of vitamin D, vitamin B6 and selenium intake in Dutch participants of the NU-AGE study. Agnes A.M. Berendsen, Lilou E.L.M. van Lieshout, Ellen G.H.M. van den Heuvel, Christophe Matthys, Szabolcs Péter and Lisette C.P.G.M. de Groot. Nutrition Research. In press, freely available online.

As we age, our energy needs decrease, meaning a more nutrient-dense diet is needed to meet nutritional needs. To bridge this gap, the use of nutrient-dense foods, fortified foods and dietary supplements can be important.

This publication describes current micronutrient intakes of the elderly Dutch population and identifies the contribution of nutrient dense foods, fortified foods and dietary supplements to the intake of micronutrients that are often inadequately consumed in the elderly  Dutch. Data was taken from 245 Dutch volunteers of the NU-AGE study, aged between 65-80 years . Dietary intake was assessed by means of 7-day food records and dietary supplement use was recorded using an additional questionnaire. Information on fortified foods was obtained from the Dutch Food Composition Table 2011. Finally, nutrient density of foods was evaluated using the Nutrient Rich Food 9.3 score.

The percentages of participants not meeting their average requirement was high for vitamin D (99%), selenium (41%) and vitamin B6 (54%) based on conventional foods, and also when taking into account fortified foods (98%, 41%, 27%, respectively) and vitamin and mineral supplements (87%, 36%, 20%, respectively). Conventional foods were the main source of vitamin D, vitamin B6 and selenium intake (42%, 45%, 82% respectively), followed by vitamin and mineral supplements (41%, 44% and 18%) and fortified foods (17%, 11% and 1%). Foods with the highest nutrient density contributed most to total vitamin B6 intake only.

In order to optimize nutrient intakes of the elderly, a combination of natural food sources, fortified foods and dietary supplements should be considered.

This publication serves as a background paper. It will be followed up by an activity which will look at micronutrient intakes in elderly populations across Europe. In addition, the advantages and disadvantages of the above-mentioned product categories on the optimisation of dietary micronutrient intake will be investigated.

The present study was initiated by ILSI Europe’s Nutrient Intake Optimisation Task Force. More information about the task force can be found here.

For more detailed information, please contact Ms Lilou van Lieshout at