Psychological effects of generalized nutritional deprivation in the elderly

  • Tommy Cederholm


The Minnesota starvation study from the mid 1940s provides convincing evidence that imposed nutritional deprivation and weight loss induce depression, irritability and asociability. Similar findings are recently reported in elderly institutionalized and home-living malnourished populations, although confounding effects of concurring disease cannot be excluded. Several key nutrients influence mood, e.g. carbohydrates, tryptophane, vitamin B12, folate, thiamine and iron, and it is reasonable to believe that the detrimental psychological effects of generalized malnutrition are a combined effect of such key nutrient deficiencies. The few nutrition intervention studies in malnourished elderly, using a balanced nutrient supply, report conflicting data on psychological effects. Keywords: depression; elderly; protein-energy malnutrition; quality of life


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How to Cite
Cederholm, T. (2003). Psychological effects of generalized nutritional deprivation in the elderly. Food & Nutrition Research, 143-146.
Nutrition and the brain