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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


Location: Jean Mayer Human Nutrition Research Center On Aging

Title: Vitamin E, vitamin A and zinc status are not releated to serologic response to influenza vaccine in older adults: an observational prospective cohort study

item Sundaram, Maria E.
item Meydani, Simin N.
item Vandermause, Mary
item Shay, David K.
item Coleman, Laura A.

Submitted to: Nutrition Research
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/12/2013
Publication Date: 1/12/2014
Citation: Sundaram, M., Meydani, S., Vandermause, M., Shay, D., Coleman, L. 2014. Vitamin E, vitamin A and zinc status are not releated to serologic response to influenza vaccine in older adults: an observational prospective cohort study. Nutrition Research. 34:149-154.

Interpretive Summary: Older adults do not respond to influenza vaccine as well as other age groups. Older adults may also be at higher risk for nutrient deficiencies. We examined whether there was an association between the levels of antibody after vaccination and levels of vitamin E and zinc in older adults. Antibodies are proteins that are produced in response to and that help fight a specific organism like the flu virus. About 20% of research participants were zinc deficient, but none of the participants were vitamin E deficient. We found no association between nutrient levels and the amount of antibodies that older adults produce after getting an influenza vaccine. Our research suggests that nutrient status may not be closely related to the amount of antibodies older adults produce after influenza vaccination; further research is required to determine if there is a relationship between nutrient status and other measures of the immune system's response to influenza vaccine.

Technical Abstract: It has been hypothesized that micronutrient levels play a role in the immune 2 response to vaccination. However, population-level research on the association between 3 micronutrient levels and immune response to influenza vaccination is needed. To determine whether serum vitamin A, vitamin E, or zinc levels have an effect on 5 influenza vaccine response determined by hemagglutinin antibody inhibition (HAI) titer in adults 6 is greater than or equal to 65 years old. Observational cohort study conducted in Marshfield, Wisconsin from fall 2008 through 8 spring 2009 involving 205 community-dwelling adults aged 65 years or older who received 9 trivalent influenza vaccine. Pre-vaccination levels of serum retinol, -tocopherol, and zinc and 10 HAI titer levels pre- and post-vaccination were measured. No participants were vitamin A or vitamin E deficient; 20 percent had low serum zinc levels 12 (less than 70 microg/dL). Continuous variables and categorical quartiles coding for vitamin A, vitamin E and 13 zinc levels were not related to pre- or post-vaccination seroprotection or seroconversion for any 14 of the vaccine components (influenza A (H1N1), A (H3N2) or B) after adjusting for age, gender, 15 body mass index and pre-vaccination HAI geometric mean titer. In our study population, there was no association between variations in levels of 17 serum vitamin A, vitamin E or zinc and influenza vaccine response as measured by HAI in adults 18 over 65 years old. Association between micronutrients and other measures of vaccine response, 19 such as cell-mediated immune parameters, should also be explored.

Last Modified: 06/27/2017
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