Pankaja Sharma

PhD Student

Thesis Title: Identification of factors impacting bioavailability and measures to improve sufficiency of water soluble vitamin status in ageing.

The B-group vitamins are important micronutrients required by our body that are metabolised to more active co-enzymes forms called vitamers which take part in many cellular metabolic processes. Hence, the maintenance of B-vitamin homeostasis is essential to perform normal cellular functions to increase health span, particularly in the rapidly increasing ageing population. The ageing people are found to have inadequate intake of B-vitamins due to several age related factors. Further, age related changes in gastrointestinal physiology might cause depletion of these vitamins despite adequate intake.  Moreover, the meal composition and the ability of the ageing gut to release food bound vitamins might play a role in B-vitamin homeostasis. This research is focused to identify factors that may impact bioaccessibility of B-vitamins by comparing B-vitamin responses to dietary interventions between the younger and elderly people and due to differing meal compositions and food forms. The data will be collected through conduction of clinical trials and collection of blood samples to analyse B-vitamins and vitamers using liquid chromatography mass spectrometry technique. The outcomes of this study can provide valuable insights in understanding the optimal requirement and ways to maintain adequacy of B-vitamins. Such understanding may provide the basis to develop food products that ensures sufficiency of B-vitamins to act as co-factors and maintain healthy longevity. 

Affiliated with Liggins Institute, University of Auckland