Golden rice an effective source of vitamin A

May 14th, 2009 - 2:40 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, May 14 (IANS) Beta-carotene in so-called ‘Golden Rice’ converts to vitamin A in humans, according to researchers.
Golden Rice was developed in the early 1990s with the goal of creating rice that had beta-carotene, a vitamin A precursor, in the rice grain.

In its current form, Golden Rice contains 35 micrograms of beta-carotene per gram.

“We found that four units of beta-carotene from Golden Rice convert to one unit of vitamin A in humans,” said Michael Grusak, associate professor of paediatrics at the Children’s Nutrition Research Centre at Baylor College of Medicine (BCM).

They determined this by feeding five healthy adults a specific amount of specially-labelled Golden Rice and measured the amount of retinol, a form of vitamin A, in the blood.

Vitamin A deficiency is prevalent in many parts of the world where poorer community members rely on rice as their major food source. People who lack adequate amounts of this vitamin can have vision problems or even go blind.

“By incorporating vitamin A into the major crop that is consumed, we would be able to make it accessible to the majority of people in the area,” said Grusak.

Additional research is necessary before Golden Rice is made commercially available, said a BCM release.

The study appeared in the current issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

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