The Journal of nutrition

Accelerator mass spectrometry can be used to assess vitamin A metabolism quantitatively in boys in a community setting.

PMID 20660280


A survey indicated that high-dose vitamin A (HD-VA) supplements had no apparent effect on vitamin A (VA) status, assessed by serum retinol concentrations, of Zambian children lt 5 y of age. To explore possible reasons for the lack of response, we quantified absorption, retention, and urinary elimination of either a single HD-VA supplement (209.8 micromol; 60 mg) or a smaller dose of stable isotope (SI)-labeled VA (17.5 micromol; 5 mg), which was used to estimate VA pool size, in 3- to 4-y-old Zambian boys (n = 4 for each VA dose). A tracer dose of [(14)C(2)]-labeled VA (0.925 kBq; 25 nCi) was coadministered with the HD-VA supplement or SI-labeled VA, and 24-h stool and urine samples were collected for 3 and 7 consecutive days, respectively, and 24-h urine samples at 4 later time points. Accelerator MS was used to quantify (14)C in stool and urine. Estimates of absorption, retention, and the urinary elimination rate (UER) were 83.8 +/- 7.1%, 76.3 +/- 6.7%, and 1.9 +/- 0.6%/d, respectively, for the HD-VA supplement and 76.5 +/- 9.5%, 71.1 +/- 9.4%, and 1.8 +/- 1.2%/d, respectively, for the SI-labeled VA. Mean estimates of absorption, retention, and the UER did not differ by size of the VA dose administered. Estimated absorption and retention were negatively associated with reported fever (r = minus 0.83; P = 0.011). The HD-VA supplement and SI-labeled VA were adequately absorbed, retained, and utilized in apparently healthy Zambian preschool-age boys; absorption and retention may be affected by recent fever.