Plasma retinol kinetics and β-carotene bioefficacy are quantified by model-based compartmental analysis in healthy young adults with low vitamin A stores

Michael H. Green, Jennifer Lynn Ford, Anthony Oxley, Joanne Balmer Green, Hyunjin Park, Philip Berry, Alan V. Boddy, Georg Lietz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

15 Scopus citations


Background: Model-based compartmental analysis of data on plasma retinol kinetics after administration of labeled retinol provides unique information about whole-body vitamin A metabolism. If labeled β-carotene is coadministered, its bioefficacy relative to the retinol reference dose can also be estimated. Objectives: The objectives were to model plasma retinol kinetics after administration of labeled preformed vitamin A and provitamin A β-carotene and to determine relative β-carotene bioefficacy. Methods: We used the Simulation, Analysis andModeling software (WinSAAMversion 3.0.8; http://www. to analyze previously collected data on plasma [13C10]- and [13C5]retinol kinetics for 14 d after oral administration of 1 mg [13C10] retinyl acetate and 2mg [13C10]β-carotene in oil to 30 healthy young adults of European ancestry [13men, 17women; mean± SD age: 24.5 ± 4.2 y; mean ± SD body weight: 65.2 ± 10 kg; mean ± SD body mass index (in kg/m2): 22.5 ± 1.9] with moderate vitamin A intakes. Results: A 6-component model provided the best fit to the data, including compartments for initial metabolism of vitamin A, plasma retinol, and extravascular vitamin A storage. The disposal rate was 6.7 ± 3.1 μmol/d, fractional catabolic rate was 6.0% ± 2.3%/d, and vitamin A stores were 123 ± 71 μmol. Relative β-carotene bioefficacy, based on the ratio of the areas under the fraction of dose curves calculated by WinSAAM, averaged 13.5% ± 6.02% (retinol activity equivalents = 7.7:1.0 μg). Interindividual variation in relative β-carotene bioefficacy was high (CV: 44%). Conclusions: Vitamin A kinetics in these young adults were best described by essentially the samemodel that had been previously developed by using data for older adults with higher vitamin A stores; differences in parameter values reflected differences in vitamin A status. Estimated β-carotene bioefficacy was relatively low but similar to previously reported estimates obtained by graphical methods. This trial was registered at the UK Clinical Research Network as UKCRN 7413.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2129-2136
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Nutrition
Issue number10
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics

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