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Nutrients 2013, 5(8), 3257-3271; doi:10.3390/nu5083257
Review

A Comparison of Retinyl Palmitate and Red Palm Oil β-Carotene as Strategies to Address Vitamin A Deficiency

1
,
2,* , 3
 and
3
1 Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD 21287, USA 2 University of Montpellier II, Science and Technology, Montpellier 34000, France 3 Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition, Geneva 1200, Switzerland
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 4 June 2013 / Revised: 4 August 2013 / Accepted: 6 August 2013 / Published: 15 August 2013
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Vitamin A and Carotenoids)
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Abstract

Vitamin A deficiency continues to be an international public health problem with several important health consequences including blindness and overall increased rates of morbidity and mortality. To address this widespread issue, a series of strategies have been put into place from dietary diversification to supplementation and fortification programs. Retinyl palmitate has been used successfully for decades as a supplement as well as a way to fortify numerous foods, including vegetable oil, rice, monosodium glutamate, cereal flours and sugar. Recently, there has been rising interest in using a natural source of carotenoids, β-carotene from red palm oil (RPO), for fortification. Although RPO interventions have also been shown to effectively prevent Vitamin A deficiency, there are numerous challenges in using beta-carotene from RPO as a fortification technique. β-Carotene can induce significant changes in appearance and taste of the fortified product. Moreover, costs of fortifying with beta-carotene are higher than with retinyl palmitate. Therefore, RPO should only be used as a source of Vitamin A if it is produced and used in its crude form and regularly consumed without frying. Furthermore, refined RPO should be fortified with retinyl palmitate, not β-carotene, to ensure that there is adequate Vitamin A content.
Keywords: oil; fortification; retinyl palmitate; beta-carotene; red palm oil; Vitamin A oil; fortification; retinyl palmitate; beta-carotene; red palm oil; Vitamin A
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).
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Souganidis, E.; Laillou, A.; Leyvraz, M.; Moench-Pfanner, R. A Comparison of Retinyl Palmitate and Red Palm Oil β-Carotene as Strategies to Address Vitamin A Deficiency. Nutrients 2013, 5, 3257-3271.

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