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Long-term hospitalized elderly people have lowered L-carnitine and coenzyme Q10 in blood than healthy elderly people

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Non-essential nutrients, L-carnitine (carnitine) and coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) have attracted much attention as supplements for anti-aging and improvement of metabolism. Although the levels of carnitine and CoQ10 in the body decrease with advancing age, dietitians do not consider intakes of these nutrients when they plan food prescription or menu for elderly people. In addition, there are few reports comparing nutritional status of these nutrients between hospitalized and independent elderly people. In this study, the blood levels of carnitine and CoQ10 of long-term hospitalized and independent elderly people were investigated.

Materials and methods

The participants were 15 elderly adults (4 men and 11 women, mean age 76.5±6.2 years) who were hospitalized for a long time, and 30 healthy elderly adults (9 men and 21 women, mean age 77.6±6.5 years). Inpatients were further divided into two groups (inpatients oral-feeding and inpatients enteral-feeding). Anthropometric parameters, nutrition intakes and biochemical blood tests of the participants were determined.


The level of serum albumin in inpatients oral-feeding, inpatients enteral-feeding, and healthy elderly adults were 3.4±0.3 g/dL, 3.4±0.4 g/dL, and 4.5±0.3 g/dL, respectively. The blood levels of carnitine in inpatients oral- and enteral-feeding were decreased by 25% (p <0.001) and 50% (p <0.001), respectively, as compared to that in independent elderly people. The blood levels of CoQ10 in inpatients oral- and enteral-feeding were decreased by 40% (p <0.01) and 50% (p <0.001), as compared to that in independent elderly people.


The blood levels of carnitine and CoQ10 in the long-term hospitalized elderly people were lower than that in the healthy elderly people. Their blood levels in inpatients enteral-feeding were the lowest among 3 groups. The results suggest that carnitine and CoQ10 might decrease in both biosynthesis and intakes in long-term hospitalized elderly people. Therefore, supplementation of these non-essential nutrients to hospitalized elderly people might be effective for prevention of deterioration in their nutritional status.

Author information

Correspondence to Michiyo Takahashi.

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This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

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