International journal for vitamin and nutrition research. Internationale Zeitschrift fur Vitamin- und Ernahrungsforschung. Journal international de vitaminologie et de nutrition

Effects on vitamin A deficiency in children of periodic high-dose supplements and of fortified oil promotion in a deficient area of the Philippines.

PMID 22419200


Regular semi-annual distribution of high-dose (200,000 IU) vitamin A capsules (VACs) to children 1 - 5 years of age (previously identified as underweight), in Leyte Province, the Philippines, was compared to providing extra VACs to give three-monthly dosing, and to vitamin A-fortified cooking oil (VAFO) promotion (with continued VACs every 6 months). Serum retinol (SR) was measured at baseline and after 12 or 18 months (for VAFO). No sustained increase in SR was determined from the three-month VAC dosing regimen, and the prevalence of vitamin A deficiency (VAD) as assessed by SR (< 20 mcg / dL) remained around 30 % (in line with national survey estimates over the previous 15 years). The major difference found was that 18 months of VAFO (of which 9 months had sustained promotion) was associated with reducing the prevalence of VAD to < 10 %. The effective fortification and lack of effect of semi-annual VAC results are in line with previous studies; testing with dosing of VAC every three months is a new intervention. The results imply that promotion of fortified oil would reduce VAD in these conditions; whether it can replace or needs to be added to semi-annual VAC dosing remains to be determined. A phased changeover to reliance on fortified commodities (including oil) with careful monitoring of VAD trends is indicated.