Vitamin status was assessed in 26 recently institutionalized elderly subjects by combining dietary and biochemical measurements of thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, beta-carotene, vitamins C, A, D and E at admission (P1), and 1.5 (P2), 3.0 (P3), 4.5 (P4), 6.0 (P5), 12 (P6) months later. At admission, except for vitamin A, mean vitamin intakes were lower than the 1992 French Recommended Dietary Allowance. Thiamin, vitamins C, A and E status seemed nearly satisfactory as less than one-fourth of the population sample had blood values lower than the cut-off point for thiamin (erythrocyte thiamin pyrophosphate < 0.17 mumol/l), vitamin A (serum retinol < 1.05 mumol/l), vitamin C (serum vitamin C < 11.3 mumol/l) and vitamin E (serum alpha-tocopherol < 9.3 mumol/l) or higher than the cut-off point for thiamin (erythrocyte transketolase activity coefficient > 1.19). Almost half of the subjects for riboflavin, and almost all non supplemented subjects for vitamin D were in risk of vitamin deficiency (46% had an erythrocyte glutathione reductase activity coefficient > 1.19 and 72% had a plasma 25(OH)D3 < 25 nmol/l). During the study, vitamins status remained unchanged for riboflavin, niacin, vitamins A, D and E, improved for vitamin C (P = 0.004) or impaired for thiamin (P = 0.008). Thus, institutionalization seemed to have no effect on riboflavin, niacin, vitamins A, D and E status and a slight effect on thiamin and vitamin C status.