To evaluate the effect of post-partum high dose VA supplementation and provision of VA fortified oil for household consumption on plasma and milk retinol concentrations of lactating Moroccan women during the first 6 mo post-partum.
Lactating women aged 19-40 y received a VA supplement within the first mo post-partum and thereafter were randomly assigned to one of two groups to receive weekly vitamin A fortified oil (FO) or non-fortified oil (NFO) for home consumption for 6 months. Blood was collected at baseline, 3 and 6 mo for measurement of plasma retinol concentration; milk was collected monthly for measurement of milk retinol and fat concentrations.
Serum retinol concentration was higher in the FO group than in the NFO group at 6 mo post-partum (3.5±0.6 µmol/L vs. 2.8±0.6 µmol/L, P<0.0001). Milk retinol concentration was greater from 1 mo post-partum in the FO group compared to the NFO group and remained higher throughout 6 mo (P<0.0001). Milk retinol per g fat at baseline did not differ by group; by 3 mo post-partum, milk retinol per g fat was higher in the FO group than in the non-FO group (87.3 ± 43 vs 77.3 ± 59 nmol/g fat, p=0.02) and remained higher throughout 6 mo (P<0.0001).
Combined supplementation and fortification has a more sustained impact on milk retinol concentrations than supplementation alone.