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Studies Rebut Concept That Body Stores Vitamin A-Making Substances

recursor."

There was a rapid loss of beta carotene from the two pools in the gerbils' liver. One pool was lost slowly; the second, which included the most beta carotene, was lost rapidly. High levels of beta carotene absorbed in tissues failed to improve vitamin A status, and feeding pre-formed vitamin A without beta carotene failed to slow the loss of stores of previously fed beta carotene.

"Without continual feeding of beta carotene in the diet, most of the tissue beta carotene is eventually depleted," Erdman said. "If stored or accumulated beta carotene is not converted to vitamin A when initially absorbed, beta carotene provides no vitamin A value.

"A popular public health approach in some countries with rampant vitamin A deficiency is to promote consumption of fruits and vegetables high in beta carotene as they are available. It was assumed this would offer protection for much of the year. This approach will have to be revisited."

Coauthors were Erdman, technician Christine M. Lee and former graduate student Angela J. Thatcher. Funding came from the National Research Initiative of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.


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Contact: Jim Barlow
b-james3@uiuc.edu
217-333-5802
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
4-Aug-1998


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