Prevalence of hypovitaminosis c and its relationship with frailty in older hospitalised patients: A cross-sectional study

Yogesh Sharma, Alexandra Popescu, Chris Horwood, Paul Hakendorf, Campbell Thompson

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Frailty is common in older hospitalised patients and may be associated with micronutrient malnutrition. Only limited studies have explored the relationship between frailty and vitamin C deficiency. This study investigated the prevalence of vitamin C deficiency and its association with frailty severity in patients ≥75 years admitted under a geriatric unit. Patients (n = 160) with a mean age of 84.4 ± 6.4 years were recruited and underwent frailty assessment by use of the Edmonton Frail Scale (EFS). Patients with an EFS score <10 were classified as non-frail/vulnerable/mildly frail and those with ≥10 as moderate–severely frail. Patients with vitamin C levels between 11–28 µmol/L were classified as vitamin C depleted while those with levels <11 µmol/L were classified as vitamin C deficient. A multivariate logistic regression model determined the relationship between vitamin C deficiency and frailty severity after adjustment for various co-variates. Fifty-seven (35.6%) patients were vitamin C depleted, while 42 (26.3%) had vitamin C deficiency. Vitamin C levels were significantly lower among patients who were moderate–severely frail when compared to those who were non-frail/vulnerable/mildly frail (p < 0.05). After adjusted analysis, vitamin C deficiency was 4.3-fold more likely to be associated with moderate–severe frailty (aOR 4.30, 95% CI 1.33-13.86, p = 0.015). Vitamin C deficiency is common and is associated with a greater severity of frailty in older hospitalised patients.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2117
Number of pages11
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2021


  • Elderly
  • Frailty
  • Hospitalisation
  • Vitamin C deficiency


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