Green and yellow vegetables can maintain body stores of vitamin A in Chinese children

Guangwen Tang, Xiu Fang Gu, Shan Ming Hu, Qing Mei Xu, Jian Qin, Gregory G. Dolnikowski, Carla R. Fjeld, Xiang Gao, Robert M. Russell, Shi An Yin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

101 Scopus citations


Background: Vitamin A activity of plant provitamin A carotenoids is uncertain. Objective: The objective was to determine whether plant carotenoids can sustain or improve vitamin A nutrition during the fall season in kindergarten children in the Shandong province of China. Design: The serum vitamin A concentration of 39% of the children was < 1.05 μmol/L and of 61% of the children was ≥ 1.05 μmol/L. For 5 d/wk for 10 wk, 22 children were provided ≃238 g green-yellow vegetables/d and 34 g light-colored vegetables/d. Nineteen children maintained their customary dietary intake, which included 56 g green-yellow vegetables/d and 224 g light-colored vegetables/d. Octadeuterated and tetradeuterated vitamin A were given before and after the interventions, respectively, and their enrichments in the plasma were determined by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. Serum retinol and carotenoid concentrations were measured by HPLC. Results: Carotenoid nutrition improved after consumption of green-yellow vegetables. Serum concentrations of retinol were sustained in the group fed green-yellow vegetables but decreased in the group fed light-colored vegetables (P < 0.01). The isotope-dilution tests confirmed that total-body vitamin A stores were sustained ill the group fed green-yellow vegetables, but decreased 27 μmol (7700 μg retinol) per child, on average, in the group fed light- colored vegetables (P < 0.06). Conclusion: Green-yellow vegetables can provide adequate vitamin A nutrition in the diet of kindergarten children and protect them from becoming Vitamin A deficient during seasons when the provitamin A food source is limited.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1069-1076
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1999

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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