Vitamin E status and quality of life in the elderly: influence of inflammatory processes

Br J Nutr. 2009 Nov;102(10):1390-4. doi: 10.1017/S0007114509990493.


Chronic low-grade inflammation is a characteristic of ageing that may lead to alterations in health status and quality of life. In addition to intrinsic biological factors, recent data suggest that poor nutritional habits may largely contribute to this condition. The present study aimed at assessing mental and physical components of quality of life and at determining their relationship to vitamin E status, inflammation and tryptophan (TRP) metabolism in the elderly. Sixty-nine elderly subjects recruited from the Three-City cohort study participated in the study. Quality of life was assessed using the medical outcomes study thirty-six-item short-form health survey (SF-36). Biological assays included the measurement of plasma vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol), inflammatory markers, including IL-6 and C-reactive protein, and TRP metabolism. Results showed that participants with poor physical health status, as assessed by the SF-36, exhibited lower circulating concentrations of alpha-tocopherol together with increased concentrations of inflammatory markers. Similarly, poor mental health scores on the SF-36 were associated with lower concentrations of alpha-tocopherol, but also with decreased concentrations of TRP. These findings indicate that nutritional status, notably as it relates to vitamin E, is associated with immune function and quality of life in the elderly.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cohort Studies
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / prevention & control*
  • Male
  • Nutritional Status
  • Quality of Life
  • Vitamin E / pharmacology*


  • Vitamin E