The British journal of nutrition

A review of vitamin A equivalency of β-carotene in various food matrices for human consumption.

PMID 24513222


Vitamin A equivalency of β-carotene (VEB) is defined as the amount of ingested β-carotene in μg that is absorbed and converted into 1 μg retinol (vitamin A) in the human body. The objective of the present review was to discuss the different estimates for VEB in various types of dietary food matrices. Different methods are discussed such as mass balance, dose-response and isotopic labelling. The VEB is currently estimated by the US Institute of Medicine (IOM) as 12:1 in a mixed diet and 2:1 in oil. For humans consuming β-carotene dissolved in oil, a VEB between 2:1 and 4:1 is feasible. A VEB of approximately 4:1 is applicable for biofortified cassava, yellow maize and Golden Rice, which are specially bred for human consumption in developing countries. We propose a range of 9:1-16:1 for VEB in a mixed diet that encompasses the IOM VEB of 12:1 and is realistic for a Western diet under Western conditions. For a 'prudent' (i.e. non-Western) diet including a variety of commonly consumed vegetables, a VEB could range from 9:1 to 28:1 in a mixed diet.