To investigate the influence of vitamin A intake on the contribution of chylomicrons vs. holo retinol-binding protein to milk vitamin A, female rats were fed diets containing either 10 (n = 6) or 50 μmol vitamin A/kg body (n = 4) during pregnancy and through d 13 of lactation. [3H]Vitamin A was incorporated into each diet beginning on d 6 of lactation. Vitamin A concentrations on d 13 were significantly higher in dam liver (x 3), pup liver (x 2.6), milk (x 2.5) and mammary tissue (x 1.3) in rats consuming the higher level of vitamin A. In both groups, vitamin A specific activities in plasma and milk reached apparent plateaus by 2.33 d after addition of [3H]vitamin A to the diets. Vitamin A specific activity in milk was higher than in plasma at all times in both groups. The estimated minimum contribution of chylomicrons to milk vitamin A was 32 ± 3% in rats fed the lower level of vitamin A vs. 52 ± 10% at the higher level (P = 0.014). We concluded that dietary vitamin A, like triglycerides, may be directed to mammary tissue during lactation for preferential secretion into milk; thus, increasing vitamin A intakes will increase the contribution of dietary vitamin A to milk. In contrast to milk, mammary tissue vitamin A turns over very slowly.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Medicine (miscellaneous)
- Nutrition and Dietetics