New Technique of Vitamin A Delivery Shows Promise

Mixture of retinol plus retinoic acid promotes uptake into lungs of rats

FRIDAY, Oct. 26 (HealthDay News) -- Vitamin A, also known as retinol, is a critical nutrient for lung maturation and repair after injury. Researchers have discovered that mixing a small amount of retinoic acid with retinol promotes the uptake of retinol into the lungs of vitamin A-deficient rats, a method that may hold promise for supplementation in humans, according to a report published in the November issue of the Journal of Nutrition.

A. Catharine Ross, Ph.D., and Nan-qian Li, Ph.D., of Pennsylvania State University in University Park, investigated how a combination of retinol and retinoic acid affected the uptake and storage of retinol in the lungs of adult rats.

The combination of retinol and retinoic acid, administered orally, increased the storage form of vitamin A, retinyl ester, in the lungs of vitamin A-marginal adult rats more than retinol alone. Retinol-retinoic acid also increased retinyl ester in the lungs of vitamin A-deficient rats when administered intramuscularly.

"Understanding what types of vitamin A supplementation are optimal for premature and term infants has important implications for clinical practice," the authors write. This study in a rat model "provides evidence that admixing a small proportion of retinoic acid (10 percent) into an amount of retinol similar to that used therapeutically promotes the uptake of retinol into the lungs, whether the dose is delivered by the oral or intramuscular route," they conclude.

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