α-Tocopherol from foods has been associated with protection against several chronic diseases and maintenance of immune function. However, most people do not meet current recommendations for intake. We examined α-tocopherol intake and plasma concentration in a representative sample of Puerto Rican and Dominican older adults (n = 447) and in neighborhood-matched non-Hispanic whites (n = 155). A validated food frequency questionnaire was used to assess dietary intake. Mean dietary intakes of α-tocopherol were 6 mg in both ethnicities. Only 4.7% of women and 7.9% of men met the estimated average requirement (12 mg/d) for vitamin E from food alone. Top sources of α-tocopherol for Hispanics included oils and milk, and for non-Hispanic whites they were ready-to-eat breakfast cereal and sweet baked products. Mean plasma α-tocopherol concentrations were 24.5 μmol/L for Hispanics and 25.8 μmol/L for non-Hispanic whites (P > 0.05). Plasma α-tocopherol was positively associated with α-tocopherol intake (P = 0.003), and significance remained after adjusting covariates and after exclusion of supplement users (P for trend = 0.008). We identified the following 5 dietary patterns by cluster analysis: 1) fruit and breakfast cereal, 2) starchy vegetables, 3) rice, 4) milk and milk products, and 5) sweets. Those following the sweets pattern had the lowest plasma α-tocopherol relative to those following the fruit and breakfast cereal or milk patterns (P < 0.05 for all), although they had similar intakes. A large proportion of these elders (>90%) have inadequate intake of α-tocopherol, and plasma concentrations were associated with intake patterns.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Medicine (miscellaneous)
- Nutrition and Dietetics