Background: Better methods are needed for determining vitamin A absorption efficiency in humans to support development of dietary recommendations and to improve the accuracy of predictions of vitamin A status. Objectives: We developed and evaluated a method for estimating vitamin A absorption efficiency based on compartmental modeling of theoretical data on postprandial plasma retinyl ester (RE) kinetics. Methods: We generated data on plasma RE and retinol kinetics (30 min to 8 h or 56 d, respectively) after oral administration of labeled vitamin A for 12 theoretical adults with a range of values assigned for vitamin A absorption (55-90%); we modeled all data to obtain best-fit values for absorption and other parameters using Simulation, Analysis, and Modeling software. We then modeled RE data only (16 or 10 samples), with or without added random error, and compared assigned to predicted absorption values. We also compared assigned values to areas under RE response curves (RE AUCs). Results: We confirmed that a unique value for vitamin A absorption cannot be identified by modeling plasma retinol tracer kinetics. However, when RE data were modeled, predicted vitamin A absorptions were within 1% of assigned values using data without error and within 12% when 5% error was included. When the sample number was reduced, predictions were still within 13% for 10 of the 12 subjects and within 23% overall. Assigned values for absorption were not correlated with RE AUC (P = 0.21). Conclusions: We describe a feasible and accurate method for determining vitamin A absorption efficiency that is based on compartmental modeling of plasma RE kinetic data collected for 8 h after a test meal. This approach can be used in a clinical setting after fasting subjects consume a fat-containing breakfast meal with a known amount of vitamin A or a stable isotope label.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Medicine (miscellaneous)
- Nutrition and Dietetics