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trations among children after the consumption of a low fat vegetable diet. The addition of 10 g of fat did not improve serum vitamin A concentrations any more than did 5 g of fat.


Malabsorption of vitamin A can occur with diarrhea and intestinal infections and infestations. Sivakumar and Reddy (1972) demonstrated depressed absorption of labeled vitamin A in children with gastroenteritis and respiratory infections. Malabsorption of vitamin A is also associated with intestinal parasitism (Mahalanabis et al., 1979; Sivakumar and Reddy, 1975).

The malabsorption of vitamin A that is observed in children with Ascaris lumbricoides infection was associated with an altered mucosal morphology that was reversed with deworming (Jalal et al., 1998; Maxwell et al., 1968).

Food Matrix

The matrix of foods affects the ability of carotenoids to be released from food and therefore affects intestinal absorption. The rise in serum β-carotene concentration was significantly less when individuals consumed β-carotene from carrots than when they received a similar amount of β-carotene supplement (Micozzi et al., 1992; Tang et al., 2000; Torronen et al., 1996). This observation was similar for broccoli (Micozzi et al., 1992) and mixed green leafy vegetables (de Pee et al., 1995; Tang et al., 2000) as compared with a β-carotene supplement. The food matrix effect on β-carotene bioavailability has been reviewed (Boileau et al., 1999).

Food Processing

The processing of foods greatly affects the absorption of carotenoids (Van het Hof et al., 1998). The absorption of carotene was 24 percent from sliced carrots, whereas the absorption of carotene from homogenized carrots was 56 percent (Hume and Krebs, 1949). Rock et al. (1998) reported that the rise in serum β-carotene concentration was significantly greater in subjects consuming cooked carrots and spinach as compared with those consuming an equal amount of raw carrots and spinach. Similarly, the rise in serum β-carotene concentration was greater after the consumption of carrot juice than after the same amount of raw carrots (Torronen et al., 1996).

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