A place for palm fruit oil to eliminate vitamin A deficiency.

There is general consensus that food-based approaches are viable and sustainable options for addressing vitamin A deficiency in populations. One such example is the fortification of food which, if properly monitored, could make a significant contribution towards improving the vitamin A status of populations throughout the world. Red palm fruit oil (RPO) with its high content of natural carotenoids, lends itself exceptionally well to this purpose at both household and commercial level. Results are now available from several feeding trials incorporating RPO into diets at household level or into commercially manufactured products. RPO in the maternal diet was shown to improve the vitamin A status of lactating mothers and their infants. Consumption of RPO incorporated in a sweet snack or biscuits significantly improved plasma retinol concentrations in children with subclinical vitamin A deficiency. There is evidence that if only 35-50% of the recommended daily intake for vitamin A were to be provided by RPO, it may be sufficient to prevent vitamin A deficiency (hypovitaminosis A). Red palm oil has a highly bioconvertible form of alpha- and beta-carotene, a long shelf life, and a higher cost/benefit ratio when compared to other approaches such as high-dose-vitamin A supplements and fortification of foods with retinyl ester fortificants. Consumption of RPO is safe and cannot produce hypervitaminosis A. Considering all the current information about RPO, the initiation of food-based interventions involving its use in developing countries with an endemic vitamin A deficiency problem, appears to be a logical choice.
AuthorsA J Spinnler Benade
JournalAsia Pacific journal of clinical nutrition (Asia Pac J Clin Nutr) Vol. 12 Issue 3 Pg. 369-72 ( 2003) ISSN: 0964-7058 [Print] Australia
PMID14506003 (Publication Type: Journal Article, Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't, Review)
Chemical References
  • Plant Oils
  • Vitamin A
  • palm oil
  • Biological Availability
  • Food, Fortified
  • Humans
  • Plant Oils (administration & dosage, chemistry)
  • Vitamin A (adverse effects, blood, therapeutic use)
  • Vitamin A Deficiency (therapy)

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