A number of socio-economic, biological and lifestyle characteristics change with advancing age and place very old adults at increased risk of micronutrient deficiencies. The aim of this study was to assess vitamin and mineral intakes and respective food sources in 793 75-year-olds (302 men and 491 women) in the North-East of England, participating in the Newcastle 85+ Study. Micronutrient intakes were estimated using a multiple-pass recall tool (2×24 h recalls). Determinants of micronutrient intake were assessed with multinomial logistic regression. Median vitamin D, Ca and Mg intakes were 2·0 (interquartile range (IQR) 1·2–6·5) µg/d, 731 (IQR 554–916) mg/d and 215 (IQR 166–266) mg/d, respectively. Fe intake was 8·7 (IQR 6·7–11·6) mg/d, and Se intake was 39·0 (IQR 27·3–55·5) µg/d. Cereals and cereal products were the top contributors to intakes of folate (31·5 %), Fe (49·2 %) and Se (46·7 %) and the second highest contributors to intakes of vitamin D (23·8 %), Ca (27·5 %) and K (15·8 %). More than 95 % (n 756) of the participants had vitamin D intakes below the UK’s Reference Nutrient Intake (10 µg/d). In all, >20 % of the participants were below the Lower Reference Nutrient Intake for Mg (n 175), K (n 238) and Se (n 418) (comparisons with dietary reference values (DRV) do not include supplements). As most DRV are not age specific and have been extrapolated from younger populations, results should be interpreted with caution. Participants with higher education, from higher social class and who were more physically active had more nutrient-dense diets. More studies are needed to inform the development of age-specific DRV for micronutrients for the very old.