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Title: Beta-carotene in Golden Rice is as good as beta-carotene in oil at providing vitamin A to children

item Tang, Guang-Wen
item HU, YUMING - Hunan University Of Science And Technology
item YIN, SHI-AN - Chinese Center For Disease Control
item WANG, YIN - Zhejian Academy
item Dallal, Gerald
item Grusak, Michael
item Russell, Robert

Submitted to: The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/21/2011
Publication Date: 8/1/2012
Citation: Tang, G., Hu, Y., Yin, S., Wang, Y., Dallal, G.E., Grusak, M.A., Russell, R.M. 2012. Beta-carotene in Golden Rice is as good as beta-carotene in oil at providing vitamin A to children. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 96(3):658-664.

Interpretive Summary: Vitamin A is an essential nutrient required for the promotion of general growth, the maintenance of visual function, and proper control of the immune system. Vitamin A deficiency is a serious world-wide public health concern that is caused in part by the chronic consumption of foods that are low in vitamin A content. Women and children in developing countries are at particular risk for vitamin A deficiency. Because of this, several approaches are used to provide sufficient vitamin A to at-risk populations. These include the provision of vitamin A capsules or the vitamin A fortification of foods. Another approach is to provide foods fortified with beta-carotene, a compound made by plants that can be converted to vitamin A in the human body. Beta-carotene is the orange colored compound found in carrots that makes them good for eye health. Golden Rice is a special type of rice, developed through genetic engineering, which can make beta-carotene in its seeds. No currently available rice varieties contain beta-carotene in their seeds when these are harvested. We wished to test the effectiveness of Golden Rice to provide vitamin A to children; thus, a study was conducted in China with healthy Chinese children. We compared Golden Rice with that of beta-carotene provided in an oil capsule, or as beta-carotene in spinach. We found that the beta-carotene from Golden Rice was well absorbed and readily converted to vitamin A. It was as good as pure beta-carotene in an oil capsule for meeting vitamin A needs and was slightly better than that of spinach. Our results have shown that one serving of Golden Rice could provide over half the daily vitamin A requirement of a young child in China.

Technical Abstract: Vitamin A deficiency (VAD), which can lead to blindness and increased morbidity and mortality, affects 190 million preschool children in developing countries. To combat VAD, Golden Rice (GR) was developed to provide dietary beta-carotene, a pro-vitamin A carotenoid. Understanding the conversion efficiency of GR beta-carotene to vitamin A allows establishment of GR dietary recommendations for at-risk populations. Deuterium-labeling allowed the conversions of pure beta-carotene, GR beta-carotene, and spinach beta-carotene to retinol to be studied in Chinese children, with results of 2.0, 2.3, and 7.5-to-1 by weight, respectively. GR is as good as pure beta-carotene oil capsule for vitamin A needs and one 50 g dry-weight serving of GR provided approx. 60% of the China-RDI (700 ug retinol) for children.