Comparing local fruits and vegetables and β-carotene supplements as a vitamin A source for honduran mothers and infants

Douglas L Taren, Rina G. Kaminsky, Jackeline Alger, Monica Mourra, Rahul Mhaskar, Louise M. Canfield

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract

Background To evaluate the feasibility of fruits and vegetables as a longterm strategy to combat vitamin A deficiency we compared the effects of dietary levels of local fruits and vegetables, an equivalent amount of β-carotene supplements and placebo on serum vitamin A concentrations of lactating mothers and infants in a periurban community in Honduras. Methods Mothers and their nursing infants were randomly assigned to receive β-carotene supplements, foods high in β-carotene or placebo three times/wk for four wk. Each treatment day, mothers in the supplement group received 7.5 mg β-carotene beadlets with a breakfast of local foods providing ~8 g fat. The placebo group received the same breakfast without the supplement. Mothers in the food group received lunch furnishing 7.5 mg β-carotene from local foods. Mothers and infants donated blood samples on days 1, 14 and 30. Milk samples were obtained at days 1 and 30 and maternal dietary intake was estimated by 24-hour dietary recalls on days 1, 14 and 30. Results Local foods high in β-carotene resulted in significant increases in maternal and infant serum retinol compared to the other two treatment groups. Increases in serum retinol of mothers and infants following β-carotene supplements were not significantly different from placebo. β-Carotene supplements increased maternal serum and milk concentrations but did not increase infant serum β-carotene levels. Conclusions Foods in the local diet increased circulating retinol levels of both mothers and infants. The importance of including food-based approaches in strategies to combat vitamin A deficiency is discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationBeta Carotene
Subtitle of host publicationDietary Sources, Cancer and Cognition
PublisherNova Science Publishers, Inc.
Pages299-313
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)9781617281457
ISBN (Print)9781607416111
StatePublished - Jan 1 2010

Keywords

  • Deficiency
  • Infant nutrition
  • Lactation
  • Vitamin A
  • β-carotene

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Professions(all)
  • Medicine(all)

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