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Vitamin B and C levels of homeless patients who visit the emergency department with alcohol ingestion


Vitamins are essential micronutrients and depletions are reported for chronically ill patients. It is well known that the general nutrition status of the homeless is poor, especially for heavy alcoholics. But there were few data about the actual vitamin status of homeless patients. We want to evaluate the vitamin levels of homeless patients.


This study was conducted at a single urban teaching hospital emergency department. We performed a retrospective chart review of blood vitamin B1, B12, B6 and C levels of homeless patients. These vitamins are a common supplement in our center and sometimes blood levels are drawn if the patient is drunk, needs i.v. hydration and has cachexic features.


During study periods, vitamin levels were checked for 156 patients. The number of male patients was 146 (94%) and the mean age was 50 ± 10.2. Vitamin C levels were 15.8 ± 1.3 mg/l. For 84 patients, levels of vitamin C were decreased. For vitamin B1 (152 ± 7.2 nmol/l), vitamin B12 (725.5 ± 35.4 pg/ml), and vitamin B6 (50.3 ± 5.5 ng/ml), there were three, two and 23 patients below the reference ranges respectively. See Table 1.

Table 1 abstract P428)


The level of vitamin C was markedly decreased. Replacement of vitamin C should be considered for the homeless who visit the emergency department after alcohol ingestion.

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Lee, H., Shin, J., Kang, E. et al. Vitamin B and C levels of homeless patients who visit the emergency department with alcohol ingestion. Crit Care 18 (Suppl 1), P428 (2014).

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  • Emergency Department
  • Alcohol Ingestion
  • Actual Vitamin
  • Essential Micronutrient
  • Hospital Emergency Department