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Purpose: To investigate the prevalence of cobalamin and folate deficiencies among the elderly in the general population of Shiraz in southern Iran.
Methods: This is a descriptive cross-sectional study including 340 individuals who are over 50 years old and were selected randomly from all the regions of Shiraz.
Results: The study group was made up of 132 (38.8 %) males and 208 (61.2 %) females. In this group 174 (51.2 %) were aged 50 - 59 years and 166 (48.8 %) were aged ≥ 60 years. Cobalamin deficiency (< 200 pg/mL) was present in 124 (36.2 %) while 42 (12.4 %) had severe deficiency with levels < 100 pg/mL. Signs of metabolic deficiency at the cellular level were seen in 21 (5.25 %) of the samples. Serum folate deficiency (< 4 ng/mL) was present in 134 (39.4 %) while 19 (5.6 %) persons had severe folate deficiency (≤ 2 - 3 ng/mL). Correlation analysis showed that serum cobalamin and homocysteine in the study samples were not significant (p > 0.05).
Conclusion: The prevalence of severe cobalamin deficiency with clinical significance is high in the elderly population of Shiraz, Iran.
Keywords: Vitamin B12 deficiency, Folate deficiency, Homocysteinemia, Elderly population