Factors Affecting the Bioavailability and Metabolism of Vitamin A and Its Precursors

  • James Allen Olson
Part of the Nutrition and Food Science book series (NFS, volume 3)


In dealing with the problem of vitamin A deficiency in preschool children, the dietary intake required to satisfy the needs of a child for growth and the prevention of clinical symptoms of vitamin A deficiency should obviously be defined. At first glance, we are seeking a specific number, which appears to be a simple, easily resolvable task. In actuality, it is not a simple task at all, because the number keeps changing as a result of five major factors: 1) the bioavailability of vitamin A and its precursors in the diet, 2) nutrient interaction, 3) the presence, length, and severity of disease, 4) metabolic parameters — and in particular storage efficiency, the turnover of reserves, and recycling efficiency, and 5) statistical considerations. I wish first to consider each of these major factors, and then to suggest a new approach to vitamin A nutriture which might allow simplification of many of the complexities involved in assessing their importance.


Retinol Binding Protein Protein Energy Malnutrition Retinyl Palmitate Retinyl Ester Carotenoid Intake 
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  1. NAS. Recommended Dietary Allowances, Eighth revised edition, Food and Nutrition Board, National Research Council, National Academy of Sciences, Washington, D.C., 1974.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1980

Authors and Affiliations

  • James Allen Olson
    • 1
  1. 1.Prof. of Biochemistry and BiophysicsIowa State UniversityAmesUSA

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