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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: DIETARY CAROTENOIDS, RETINOIDS, AND BIOACTIVATES ON HEALTHY AGING Title: Spirulina can increase total-body vitamin A stores of Chinese school-age children determined by a paired isotope dilution technique

Authors
item Li, Lei -
item Zhao, Xianfeng -
item Wang, Jie -
item Muzhingi, Tawanda -
item Suter, Paolo -
item Tang, Guangwen -
item Yin, Shi-An -

Submitted to: Journal of Nutritional Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: October 8, 2012
Publication Date: December 13, 2012
Citation: Li, L., Zhao, X., Wang, J., Muzhingi, T., Suter, P.M., Tang, G., Yin, S. 2012. Spirulina can increase total-body vitamin A stores of Chinese school-age children determined by a paired isotope dilution technique. Journal of Nutritional Science. doi:10.1017/jns.2012.21.

Interpretive Summary: Spirulina is an alga rich in high-quality protein and carotenoids. We studied whether spirulina can improve the total-body vitamin A reserves of school-age children in rural China where there is a high prevalence of vitamin A malnutrition. A total of 228 children (6–11 years) were recruited and randomly divided into three groups supplemented with 0, 2 or 4 grams of spirulina 5 days per week for 10 weeks. After the 10-week intervention, serum beta-carotene concentrations of children with 2 or 4 g spirulina supplement increased, and total-body vitamin A stores increased significantly. It was determined that spirulina is a good dietary source of beta-carotene, which may effectively increase the total-body vitamin A stores of Chinese school-age children.

Technical Abstract: Spirulina is an alga rich in high-quality protein and carotenoids. It is unclear whether spirulina can improve the total-body vitamin A stores of school-age children in China with a high prevalence of vitamin A malnutrition. We aimed to evaluate the efficacy of spirulina in improving the total-body vitamin A stores of school-age children in rural areas of China when they consumed spirulina in their daily meals. A total of 228 children (6–11 years) were recruited and randomly divided into three groups supplemented with 4 g (containing 4.18 ug beta-carotene), 2 g (containing 2.54 ug beta-carotene) or 0 g spirulina 5 d/week for 10 weeks, respectively. Before and after the intervention period, each child was given 0.5 mg [2H4]retinyl acetate and [2H8]retinyl acetate, respectively. To assess vitamin A stores, blood samples (3 ml) were collected on the third and the twenty-first day after each labelled retinyl acetate dose for a retinol enrichment analysis using a GC mass spectrometer. The concentrations of retinol and beta-carotene in serum samples were also determined by using HPLC. After the 10-week intervention, serum beta-carotene concentrations of children with 2 or 4 g spirulina supplement increased by 0.160 and 0.389 ummol/l, respectively. Total-body vitamin A stores increased significantly, with a median increase of 0.160 mmol in children taking 2 g spirulina and of 0.279 mmol in children taking 4 g spirulina. Spirulina is a good dietary source of beta-carotene, which may effectively increase the total-body vitamin A stores of Chinese school-age children.

Last Modified: 12/20/2014
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