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Am J Clin Nutr. 2002 May;75(5):872-9.

Plasma beta-carotene and retinol concentrations of children increase after a 30-d supplementation with the fruit Momordica cochinchinensis (gac).

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Department of Nutrition, University of California, Davis, CA 95616, USA.



In rural Vietnam, vitamin A deficiency is a concern. Among the indigenous fruit and vegetables, Momordica cochinchinensis (gac) fruit has been identified as having the highest beta-carotene concentration. Locally, it is mixed with rice in a preparation called xoi gac.


The purpose of this study was to assess this beta-carotene- rich rice preparation as a source of provitamin A for children in rural Vietnam.


Preschoolers (n = 185) participated in a 30-d controlled supplementation trial. Children with low hemoglobin concentrations were assigned to 1 of 3 groups: a fruit group, who received xoi gac that contained 3.5 mg beta-carotene per serving; a powder group, who received rice mixed with 5.0 mg synthetic beta-carotene powder; and a control group, who received rice without fortification.


The mean increase in plasma beta-carotene concentrations in the fruit and powder groups was significantly greater than that in the control group (P < 0.0001). After supplementation, the mean plasma retinol concentration in the fruit group was significantly higher than that in the control (P = 0.006) and powder (P = 0.0053) groups. Among the children with initial hemoglobin concentrations <or=110 g/L, the mean increase in hemoglobin concentrations in the fruit group was marginally higher than that in the control group (P = 0.017) but was not significantly different from that in the powder group.


beta-Carotene from xoi gac is a good source of provitamin A carotenoids. Severely anemic children might particularly benefit from routine xoi gac consumption

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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