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Vitamin Enriched Foods
Vitamin Enriched Foods

By Richard Sexton

"Nutrition trials in countries administering Vitamin A capsules resulted on average in a 24% reduction in child mortality. By breeding staple crops with higher amounts of Vitamin A, the supply of Vitamin A in our food sources can be sustainably increased."

So we can make pills out of carrots and save a quarter of the kids from dying.

How many years at this rate before this corn stops that many kids dying?

Anybody do the math on this?

Why don't we find a way to stop 75% from dying and if that means pills maybe we could kick start it.

But thanks for showing we can at least prevent a quarter of the deaths with a vitamin pill. We already know giving vitamins to people that seem otherwise healthy enough to appear smiling in PR photos but still live in an environment where the lack of substance we take for granted we can buy in any grocery store as produce or a pill causes a serious health issue.

In 2010 Checkly et al tested vit A supplementation vs. a control group and had two revisions to the paper, the final being "Maternal Vitamin A Supplementation and Lung Function in Offspring (Original Article, N Engl J Med 2010;362:1784-1794). In the “Characteristics of the Study Population” subsection of Results (page 1787), the first sentence of the final paragraph should have begun, “In 1322 (96%) of the 1371 children who underwent spirometry . . . ,” rather than “In 1322 (96%) of the 1377 children . . . .” We regret the error. The article is correct at"

The original line was "METHODS We examined a cohort of rural Nepali children 9 to 13 years of age whose mothers had participated in a placebo-controlled, double-blind, cluster-randomized trial of vitamin A or beta-carotene supplementation between 1994 and 1997.


Of 1894 children who were alive at the end of the original trial, 1658 (88%) were eligible to participate in the follow-up trial."

So we go in, prove we can save lives and improve health by the administration s a single vitamin pill then walk away saying "see, we can save lives. Bye."

We know where the problems are and what the numbers are. If we know giving them pills made of carrots or fish guts or whatever will stop them from dying why are we spending so much time trying to get something else to work that's a while away from working as well?

If only there were other plants in Africa that grew there that would address issues like this easily.

Do they myxelate the corn? America learned to do this in 1930 when an 1850 German biochemistry paper solved the Pellagra crisis that indigenous people in the US southwest and Central America had figured out by 1500 ACE. Thing is they still myxelate the corn, we add vitamins to white flour instead.

The promises from transgenic crops haven't so far been realized. (2016/10/30/business/gmo-promise-falls-short.html in NYT) and if we know how many lives we can save from RDA levels of Vit A what logic tells us a 12ppm increase in corn will get us back up to saving even a quarter of those kids like we did by giving them a vitamin pill.

Can you help me understand this logic?
[in response to article]

L Kent: There are multiple tools to mobilize to address Vitamin A deficiency, and all add value. Supplementation with annual or twice annual vitamin A pills has become standard practice in most poor countries over the past 20 years and it has made a huge contribution, although there are recurrent costs, coverage isn't complete, and big infrequent doses are less effective than more frequent modest intake. Overall, fantastic stuff. Fortification of oil and milled foods is also effective for those who purchase and consume those foods. For the poorest rural people who mostly eat the staple foods that they grow, biofortifucation can and is making a difference. I see complementarity. In the longer run, economic growth that enables dietary diversity is best, but in the current context, supplements, fortification, and more nutritious versions of staple crops are saving lives.

RS: They need this because corn is not very nutrient dense. Plus if they don't myxelate is they're at very great risk. Do they do this?

LK: Richard Sexton these are subsistence farmers struggling to generate enough calories to feed their families, so no myxelation. They depend on corn or yams or cassava for calories, then, when in season, they complement with some okra or egoesi melon or similar. Those vegetables are important but they eat limited amounts, so it's also useful to increase the vitamin content in the staple foods, which make up 90 percent of their caloric intake.

RS: Yeah I know the diet in various parts of Africa. Uganda is the the worst because of the soil, they get only sorghum and yams and they're subject to various disease because this diet lacks a handful of essential nutrients.

If they can grow that melon they can grow that pumpkin from South Africa. One pumpkin for 2 families supplies substantially more than enough to vastly exceed the vit A as it contains 3000 times more than your corn, has no pests or enemies.

Still not seeing how bringing corn up to homeopathic levels of retinol precursors help. The numbers just don't work.

LK: Richard Sexton you are right to ask for the math. The newer varieties will have 15 ppm, which could meet 50% of the EAR at current high levels of daily corn consumption. You need to factor in retention during local processing and bioavailability (conversion into retinol). Biovailabily is surprisingly high in starchy staples and unfortunately low in fibrous vegetables, so the math gets quite complex, involving the multiplication of many factors and adjustments. I don't have all those here with me, but what I and many nutritionists have concluded is that the new maize is no silver bullet but can make a significant contribution, up to 50% of Estimated Average Requirement, EAR.

RS: Understood. But you see corn loses nutrition when dried which is the only way to preserve it, compare the numbers before and after drying.

The other advantage to pumpkin is it remains in a fresh state for over a year and does not suffer degradation that way. And it's a potent source of many vitamins not just A. It is actually the gold standard for efficiency at conversion into retinol.

It's a big deal it has all its C a year later (it degrades quickly, on exposure to air, light and heat) in addition to 3000 times as much vit A. It was actually used as medicine in medieval days, for infections. By the time we'd got up to "E" in giving names to vitamins A was known as the "anti infection" vitamin because of the rate at which it sped up healing. We now now the immune system was held up because of the inordinate amount of these substances required during illness was not being met. That is the reason dosages are different from a healthy person and a sick one and why pumpkins are around in every indigenous culture in the world from New Guinea to Oklahoma - these tribes all preserved them for a reason. Not many cops were carried forward over the centuries.

It's a little sad at what we as a culture forget, we knew more about these plants from a cultural perspective back in 1500 than we do now.

I'd be interested in seeing your number when you have them.

As for bioavailability corn is not a source of niacin (b3) unless myxeltated. The indigenous people of the southwest have been doing this since 1500 but we do not. Without this treatment with slaked lime there is no niacin whatsoever to he gleaned from corn. With myxelation there is enough to support life.

So I'm especially interested in the numbers surrounding this issue to since the key role niacin plays in krebs cycle which produces all energy in the body it's a pretty big deal. What is it exactly that stops them from exhibiting signs of pellagra, once widespread in the US?

The other thing that makes no sense to me is adding homeopathic levels of vit a to a plant that has none.

Otoh, squash is from Africa and there are cultivars for every region of Africa and this stuff is off the scale of vit A (and C).

Look for yourself:

So if you want to raise vit a, plant a few squash seeds. There are dozens of cultivated African varieties among the thousands that have been known for 500 years in our literature. Here's a hundred or so of the more common varieties, the African ones are in here obvious by name.

It's been brought to my attention the African species of squash can be stored without refrigeration for up to a year and transport well. They're a superfood compared to corn.

It has 3000x more vit A than you corn. 20X the vit C and a lot of vitamins corn doesn't have. and less starch.

You'd need six tons of corn to equal one pumpkin. Each pumpkin plant of this type produces 2-3 pumpkins. One person can grow ten plants for minutes a day. That is one person could grow less than a dozen of these native African plants and they'd have more vit A than if you grew 180 tons of your corn. Ten plants!

There may be reasons to grow that corn but vit A is not one of them.

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