Beta-carotene as a Vitamin A Source

January 6/Stuttgart, Germany/Science Letter -- Research findings, "Beta-carotene is an Important Vitamin A Source for Humans," are discussed in a new report. According to a study from Stuttgart, Germany, "Experts in the field of carotenoids met at the Hohenheim consensus conference in July 2009 to elucidate the current status of beta-carotene research and to summarize the current knowledge with respect to the chemical properties, physiological function, and intake of beta-carotene. The experts discussed 17 questions and reached an agreement formulated in a consensus answer in each case."

"These consensus answers are based on published valid data, which were carefully reviewed by the individual experts and are justified here by background statements. Ascertaining the impact of beta-carotene on the total dietary intake of vitamin A is complicated, because the efficiency of conversion of beta-carotene to retinol is not a single ratio and different conversion factors have been used in various surveys and following governmental recommendations within different countries. However, a role of beta-carotene in fulfilling the recommended intake for vitamin A is apparent from a variety of studies. Thus, besides elucidating the various functions, distribution, and uptake of beta-carotene, the consensus conference placed special emphasis on the provitamin A function of beta-carotene and the role of beta-carotene in the realization of the required/recommended total vitamin A intake in both developed and developing countries," wrote T. Grune and colleagues, University of Hohenheim, Institute of Biological Chemistry and Nutrition.

The researchers concluded, "There was consensus that beta-carotene is a safe source of vitamin A and that the provitamin A function of beta-carotene contributes to vitamin A intake."

Grune and colleagues published their study in the Journal of Nutrition ("Beta-carotene is an Important Vitamin A Source for Humans," Journal of Nutrition, 2010;140(12):2268S-2285S).

For more information, contact T. Grune, University of Hohenheim, Institute of Biological Chemistry and Nutrition, Stuttgart, Germany.

From the January 7, 2011, Prepared Foods' Daily News
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