Impact of provitamin A biofortified maize consumption on carotenoid status of Zambian children

Abstract Number Theme Presentation Type Cover Approved
0505 Efficacy or effectiveness of micronutrient interventions Poster Not Approved

Authors

Abstract Content

Objectives

Provitamin A carotenoid biofortified “orange” maize has been developed as a vitamin A deficiency control strategy using selective breeding for the ß-carotene hydroxylase 1 gene, which increases ß-carotene, ß-cryptoxanthin, and zeaxanthin in the endosperm. We conducted a cluster-randomized trial to test the impact of orange maize consumption (a predominantly ß-carotene-rich variety) on serum retinol concentration in rural Zambian children (4-8 y). In the present analysis, we tested the intervention’s impact on circulating carotenoids.

Methods

Children (n=1024, 4-8 y) were cluster-randomized to receive 200 g dry weight/d orange or conventional “white” maize prepared with standardized low-vitamin A relishes, 6 d/w for 6 m. The carotenoid profile was assessed in baseline and follow-up serum samples in a subset (n=321 white, n=358 orange) of children. We assessed differences in log-transformed carotenoids, expressed as geometric means and 95% confidence limits, accounting for cluster randomization.

Results

Baseline carotenoids did not differ between groups. There were no differences in lycopene and lutein between groups at follow-up. Other carotenoids increased significantly (p<0.001) in orange vs white groups following the six-month intervention: ß-carotene [273 (254,292) vs 147 (135,160) nmol/L], a-carotene [19.7 (18.4,21.1) vs 10.6 (9.9,11.3) nmol/L], ß-cryptoxanthin [36.1 (33.6,38.8) vs 12.6 (11.8,13.5) nmol/L], a-cryptoxanthin [18.7 (17.4,20.1) vs 8.9 (8.4,9.4) nmol/L], zeaxanthin [127 (119,135) vs 81 (75,88) nmol/L].

Conclusions

Children regularly consuming a biofortified maize variety bred primarily for ß-carotene had higher concentrations of other provitamin A carotenoids and zeaxanthin, suggesting the potential for health benefits beyond vitamin A deficiency control. Supported by HarvestPlus.

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