A comparison of retinyl palmitate and red palm oil β-carotene as strategies to address Vitamin A deficiency.

Vitamin A deficiency continues to be an international public health problem with several important health consequences including blindness and overall increased rates of morbidity and mortality. To address this widespread issue, a series of strategies have been put into place from dietary diversification to supplementation and fortification programs. Retinyl palmitate has been used successfully for decades as a supplement as well as a way to fortify numerous foods, including vegetable oil, rice, monosodium glutamate, cereal flours and sugar. Recently, there has been rising interest in using a natural source of carotenoids, β-carotene from red palm oil (RPO), for fortification. Although RPO interventions have also been shown to effectively prevent Vitamin A deficiency, there are numerous challenges in using beta-carotene from RPO as a fortification technique. β-Carotene can induce significant changes in appearance and taste of the fortified product. Moreover, costs of fortifying with beta-carotene are higher than with retinyl palmitate. Therefore, RPO should only be used as a source of Vitamin A if it is produced and used in its crude form and regularly consumed without frying. Furthermore, refined RPO should be fortified with retinyl palmitate, not β-carotene, to ensure that there is adequate Vitamin A content.
AuthorsEllie Souganidis, Arnaud Laillou, Magali Leyvraz, Regina Moench-Pfanner
JournalNutrients (Nutrients) Vol. 5 Issue 8 Pg. 3257-71 (Aug 2013) ISSN: 2072-6643 [Electronic] Switzerland
PMID23955382 (Publication Type: Comparative Study, Journal Article, Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't, Review)
Chemical References
  • Plant Oils
  • beta Carotene
  • Vitamin A
  • retinol palmitate
  • palm oil
  • Diet
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Edible Grain (chemistry)
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Food, Fortified
  • Humans
  • Plant Oils (administration & dosage, chemistry)
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Vitamin A (administration & dosage, analogs & derivatives, chemistry)
  • Vitamin A Deficiency (prevention & control)
  • beta Carotene (administration & dosage)

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