Nutritional supplementation may be of benefit to acutely ill, hospitalized patients. A double-blind, placebo-controlled study appeared in the American Journal of Medicine (2006; 119(8): 693-9); the subjects were hospitalized individuals between the ages of 65 and 92. The patients were randomly divided into two groups, with one group receiving a liquid nutritional supplement along with the normal hospital diet and the other group receiving a placebo for six weeks. Nutritional status improved significantly in the supplemented group. During the six month period after the intervention, 40% of the subjects in the placebo group were readmitted to the hospital, but only 29% of the supplemented group had to be hospitalized. Also, the hospital stays for the supplemented group were shorter. Fewer of the supplemented group died, compared to the placebo group during the six month period (19 compared to 32). The data suggests that not only is nutrient status improved with vitamin and mineral supplementation, but general health as well.
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