MadSci Network: Medicine

Re: Does the ability to absorb minerals decline with age? What are the %'s?

Area: Medicine
Posted By: David Ng, PhD Student,School of Pharmacy and Medical Sciences
Date: Mon Jun 2 06:58:45 1997
Area of science: Medicine
ID: 864897948.Me
The essential nutrients/minerals that are required include sodium, 
potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc, iodine, phosphorus, and 

I am unsure if the ability to absorb such nutrients declines with age, and 
looking through some standard texts (1-3) and doing a Medline search 
(where one can search the medical literature for published materials) there 
has been no reference that such an effect occurs (which does not mean 
that it doesn’t).

Nonetheless, the Australian recommended dietary intakes (RDIs) for the 
above minerals are the same for both young and older adults, thus 
indicating that absorbtion may not vary all that significantly. (Note: RDIs are 
levels of intake of nutrients which are adequate to meet the known 
nutritional needs of practically all healthy people; and generously exceed 
the actual nutrient requirements to accommodate individual variations in 
absorbtion and metabolism).

I include below, the Australian RDIs for the minerals mentioned above (3), 
and I hope they help (sorry but they are in metric measure - might have to 
convert). Most supplements usually exceed the RDIs (and can vary 


1. Berkow R, ed. The Merck Manual 16th ed. Rahway: Merck, 1992.
2. Stein JH, ed. Internal medicine 4th ed. St Louis: Mosby, 1994; 852-63.
3. National Health and Medical Research Council. Recommended dietary 
intakes for use in Australia. Fyshwick: Australian Government Publishing 
Service, 1992.

Mineral	      RDIs for Australian Men (3)   RDIs for Australian Women (3)	
	                19-64 years	   19-54 yrs	        54+ yrs	
Sodium (mmol)	          40-100	               40-100	
Potassium (mmol)	  50-140                       50-140	
Calcium (mg)	          800	             800                 1000	
Magnesium (mg)	          320	                       270	
Iron (mg)	          7	             12-16	         5-7	
Zinc (mg)	          12                           12	
Iodine (mcg)	          150                          120	
Phosphorus (mg)	          1000                         1000	
Selenium (mcg)	          85	                       70	

Current Queue | Current Queue for Medicine | Medicine archives

Try the links in the MadSci Library for more information on Medicine.

MadSci Home | Information | Search | Random Knowledge Generator | MadSci Archives | Mad Library | MAD Labs | MAD FAQs | Ask a ? | Join Us! | Help Support MadSci

MadSci Network
© 1997, Washington University Medical School