Food and nutrition bulletin

Inflammation and Vitamin A.

PMID 26314733


Serum retinol concentrations are homeostatically controlled and only fall when liver stores of vitamin A are very low. Nevertheless, low concentrations of serum retinol occur in apparently healthy people where there is no evidence of vitamin A deficiency (VAD). To determine the reason for low serum vitamin A concentrations where there is no VAD. We observed that elevated acute-phase protein (APP) concentrations often accompanied low retinol concentrations, and we developed a model of the inflammatory response to categorize 4 groups of participants termed reference (no raised APP), incubation (raised acute APP only), early convalescence (both acute and chronic APP raised), and late convalescence (raised chronic APP only). We identified 7 studies with participants who could be allocated to the 4 groups, and using meta-analysis methods we calculated correction (ie, multiplication) factors 1.13, 1.24, and 1.11 to remove the influence of inflammation from the incubation, early, and late convalescent groups, respectively. In nutrition surveys or intervention studies to measure vitamin A status, workers should measure APP and correct retinol concentrations using the multiplication factors where inflammation is found.