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(Health) Vitamin A and Vision (Golden Rice)

 
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adedios
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 13, 2005 8:47 am    Post subject: (Health) Vitamin A and Vision (Golden Rice) Reply with quote






Golden Rice to solve vitamin-A deficiency
BASANT KUMAR MOHANTY

PTI[ SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 13, 2005 12:59:38 PM]
NEW DELHI: Intense efforts are underway in India for commercial production of 'Golden Rice', an upgraded rice variety rich in vitamin-A to overcome high-level nutritional deficiency in most available varieties.

Three agricultural institutes - Indian Agriculture Research Institute (IARA), New Delhi, Directorate of Rice Research, Hyderabad, and Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, Coimbatore, have started research in this regard.

"Technology has been developed by international institutes on enriching vitamin-A content in rice. Our institutes are doing research on using the technology for our locally grown varieties. A lot of tests on safety aspects have to be conducted before commercial cultivation," Director General of Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) Dr Mangala Rai told PTI.

Researh on upgradation of rice varieties enhancing the vitamin-A content has been going on at the international arena since 1992-93. Switz Federal Institute of Technology first started research on this project. International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), Rockfeller Foundation and Syngenta Foundation later on became associated in this researh.

Former head of 'Golden Rice' researh project at IRRI and recently adjunct professor at California University Dr G S Khush, who was here recently, told PTI that the new rice variety was produced by introducing specific gene from maize, which make Beta-carotene in the available rice varieties.

Due to increase in Beta-carotene content, the rice look yellow in colour and hence called golden rice. The Beta-carotene, after consumptiion, produces vitamin-A in the body, he said.

Research on commercial production of the variety is going on in six countries, Khush said. They are Indonesia, India, Philipines, Bangladesh, Vietnam and China.

"The researches being carried out in these countries pertain to upgradation of local varieties using the technology," he said.

Since this is genetically modified variety, food right activists may raise question about the safety aspect of the grain. "To avoid any controversy and ensure safety, this variety will undergo food safety test and environment safety test before starting the commercial cultivation," he pointed out.

A K Singh, the chief scientist of 'Golden Rice' project at IARI here, said that research was at an initial stage.

"We have selected some specific Indian rice varieties like Swarna, Samba Masuri etc for applying the technology," he said.

Vitamin-A difficency among people world over is an area of concern. Nearly 400 million people including about 100 million children across the globe are suffering from vitamin-A deficiency.

The situation in India is very similar. About 40,000 children go blind every year in India, while about 2.5 lakh kids lose their eye sight in South Asia annually due to vitamin-A deficiency.

************************************************************

Here are some follow-up questions:

What are vitamins?

http://kidshealth.org/kid/stay.....tamin.html
http://www.vita-men.com/meetmen/meet.htm

What is vitamin A?

http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/vitamina.asp

What is beta-carotene?

http://sci-toys.com/ingredients/beta_carotene.html

What is the International Rice Research Institute?

http://www.irri.org/about/about.asp

What does the United Nations say about genetically modified crops?

http://www.fao.org/ag/magazine/0111sp.htm
http://www.who.int/foodsafety/.....index.html

How does one take care of vision?

http://kidshealth.org/teen/you....._care.html
http://www.agingeye.net/vision.....vision.php

What is a lakh?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lakh

GAMES

http://www.kidshealth.org/kid/.....ition.html
http://www.ncsweetpotatoes.com/kids.htm


Last edited by adedios on Sat Jan 27, 2007 4:50 pm; edited 2 times in total
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ten



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PostPosted: Sun Nov 13, 2005 8:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very Happy hi Prof.Angel,
Very educational...thanks for sharing these...i didn't know that water has "sugar content",dito ko lang po nalaman...kumusta na po sya?

thanks & regards,
Laughing 10
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adedios
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 13, 2005 11:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ten;

Where does it say that water has "sugar content"? That is not correct. Pure water is just H2O, unless sugar has been added.
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ten



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PostPosted: Mon Nov 14, 2005 8:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Laughing : Hi there again Prof.Angel,
So,H20 is still H20 unless sugar has been added to it?,oh i see...am very sorry,sir i stand corrected...thank you.

My niece who is a grade V pupil at St Theresas College enjoyed reading about your topic here in Usap...She told me she can use this in school especially the topic about "vitamins".

thanks & Regards,
Very Happy 10
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 14, 2005 9:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ten;

I am glad that someone finds the postings here useful. There is a lot out here on the internet that can be used for our own education. It is like opening a thousand books. I will try to post more topics of this nature and I hope the teachers in Paete would begin to use them as well. Thanks to your niece and to you for your interest. Very Happy

-Angel
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ten



Joined: 12 Aug 2005
Posts: 90
Location: Cynthia Madridejos Bagabaldo

PostPosted: Wed Nov 16, 2005 9:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Prof Angel,
Very thankful din po ang niece ko kase magagamit nya itong mga postings ninyo...she is expecting "MORE" from you,sir(btw,her name is Janica Ann Madridejos).

thanks & regards,
ten & janica ann Smile

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adedios
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 17, 2005 4:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am glad I have customers out there. I just hope that my intended audience (the teachers and students of Paete schools) will likewise give some attention to this forum. many thanks, ten and janica ann, for making my efforts worthwhile.
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ten



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PostPosted: Sun Nov 20, 2005 9:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very Happy Yes Prof. Angel,in fact,nagamit na po nya ang tungkol sa mga vitamins and she's glad about it.

maraming salamat po ulit,
ten & janica ann

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 28, 2005 11:59 am    Post subject: Vitamin-rich diet cuts risk of vision malady - study Reply with quote

Vitamin-rich diet cuts risk of vision malady - study

By Andrew Stern
CHICAGO (Reuters) - A vitamin-rich diet lowers the risk of contracting macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness among the elderly in developed countries, researchers said on Tuesday.

The antioxidant properties of vitamins C and E, beta carotene and zinc were found to ward off macular degeneration, in which abnormal blood cells grow in the eye and leak blood and fluid that damage the center of the retina and blur central vision.

Sufferers are often debilitated and unable to read, recognize faces or drive, and the condition worsens with age. It affects more than one out of 10 white adults over the age of 80, and is the leading cause of severe vision loss in Americans 60 and older.

There is no cure, although an earlier study found taking high doses of vitamin supplements could slow the condition's progression.

The eight-year study involved more than 4,000 older residents of Rotterdam, in the Netherlands. It found those whose diets included more than the median levels of vitamins C and E, beta carotene and zinc had a 35 percent lower risk of developing macular degeneration, compared with those whose diets provided a below-median level of any of the four nutrients.

Participants with a below-median consumption of all four of the nutrients had a 20 percent higher risk of macular degeneration.

"This study suggests that the risk of age-related macular degeneration can be modified by diet; in particular, by dietary vitamin E and zinc," wrote lead author Dr. Redmer van Leeuwen of the Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam.

"Foods high in these nutrients appear to be more important than nutritional supplements," he added in the report, published in this week's issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Foods rich in vitamin E include whole grains, vegetable oil, eggs and nuts, the report said. High concentrations of zinc can be found in meat, poultry, fish, whole grains and dairy products. Carrots, kale and spinach are the main suppliers of beta carotene, while vitamin C is found in citrus fruits and juices, green peppers, broccoli and potatoes.

While the Dutch study showed a healthy diet was one of the keys to preventing macular degeneration, Dr. Carl Regillo of the Wills Eye Hospital in Philadelphia stressed the importance of early detection now that new treatments are available.

Some cases can be treated with drugs that inhibit growth of the unwanted blood vessels in the eye, said Regillo, who was not part of the study. One drug, Macugen, which is co-marketed by OSI Pharmaceuticals Inc. and Pfizer Inc., is injected into the eye, and the other, Visudyne, sold by Novartis AG, is injected into the bloodstream and activated by light therapy.
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 26, 2006 12:54 pm    Post subject: Vitamin A studies in rural Philippine communities Reply with quote

Vitamin A studies in rural Philippine communities
STAR SCIENCE By Judy D. Ribaya- Mercado, Sc.D.
The Philippine STAR 04/27/2006

Vitamin A deficiency is a public health problem in many non-industrialized nations. In the Philippines, the 2003 National Nutrition Survey (FNRI-DOST) showed that 40.1 percent of children between the ages of six months and five years, 36.0 percent of school-aged children, 17.5 percent of pregnant women, and 20.1 percent of lactating women have plasma vitamin A (retinol) levels that are below normal values. Vitamin A deficiency can result in anemia, reduced resistance to infection, impaired cellular differentiation, xerophthalmia, and ultimately, blindness and death. The World Health Organization estimates that about 140 million children worldwide are subclinically vitamin A deficient, and that 250,000 to 500,000 vitamin A-deficient children become blind every year, with half of them dying within 12 months of losing their sight.

During the past 10 years, I have been very fortunate to be able to obtain research grants to conduct vitamin A studies in rural Philippine communities. It all started when in 1995, a Request for Proposals (RFP) was sent out by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), one of the agencies within the United Nations Organization. Based in Vienna, Austria, the IAEA is known for its role in monitoring the safe usage of radioactive materials as an energy source, and more recently, for its role in searching for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. What many do not realize is that the IAEA serves other functions as well such as, for example, conducting and/or supporting studies on the application of stable isotopes in health-related research. The IAEA has a Nutritional and Health-Related Environmental Studies Section in a Division of Human Health, and it was this section that sent out the RFP "to study the development and application of isotopic techniques in studies of vitamin A nutrition." A stipulation of the RFP was that researchers from developed and developing countries would have to team up, as the field work should be done in the developing country, and laboratory analyses, in the developed nation. This was the opportunity I had dreamed about – to be able to conduct research studies in the Philippines. But who should I team up with? As an undergraduate student at UST, I studied Chemistry and it was only in graduate school when I focused on Biochemistry and Nutrition that I started paying attention to Public Health Nutrition studies. Dr. Florentino Solon of the Nutrition Center of the Philippines (NCP) came to mind. An internationally known public health nutritionist, he is a contributor of articles to the Sight and Life Newsletter, a publication from Basel, Switzerland dedicated to vitamin A studies and projects worldwide. We have never met, but after a flurry of e-mails, we became the team and settled into the task of writing a successful grant proposal to the IAEA. Thus begun my first research collaboration with the NCP which took me to the backroads of Barangay Santa Elena in Santo Tomas, Batangas and Barangay Hukay in Silang, Cavite – a journey to be repeated in the coming years with other vitamin A studies in other rural Philippine communities.

Before any human research study can be initiated, for the protection of study participants, the protocol undergoes review by an institutional review board. All our studies were rigorously reviewed and approved by not one, but two, review committees – the Ethical Review Board of the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development, and the Tufts University-New England Medical Center Human Investigation Review Committee.

The long-term objective of all our studies in the Philippines is the alleviation and eradication of vitamin A deficiency. The specific main objective in Santa Elena and Hukay was to determine whether ingestion of locally available fruits and vegetables that are rich in provitamin A carotenoids can improve the vitamin A status of malnourished schoolchildren. At that time, there was some controversy regarding the bioefficacy of plant foods for vitamin A use because other investigators have reported no improvement in vitamin A status in lactating women with increased green leafy vegetable intake. The assessment methods used by these investigators may not have the sensitivity to evaluate changes in vitamin A status in response to an intervention. By using stable-isotope-dilution methodology, our data showed an improvement in total-body stores of vitamin A in schoolchildren fed fruits and vegetables for 10 weeks.

Stable isotopes are used as tracers in metabolic research studies and are safe to ingest. Unlike radioactive isotopes which undergo spontaneous disintegration and emit radiation, stable isotopes do not disintegrate (thus, are "stable"), do not emit radiation, and in fact are naturally present in small amounts in the body. Because of their low abundance in the body, small amounts of compounds tagged with 13C or 2H (deuterium) can be introduced into the body and used as tracers. For example, a vitamin A molecule in which four hydrogen atoms (1H) are replaced by four deuterium atoms is a stable isotope of vitamin A (i.e., tetradeuterated vitamin A) and when ingested, it mixes with the body’s vitamin A pool. When there is sufficient vitamin A in the body, the ratio of deuterated to non-deuterated retinol in serum is low since there is plenty of vitamin A in the body to "dilute" the labeled vitamin A molecules ingested. By using a number of assumptions regarding the efficiency of absorption and storage of the tracer dose, the difference in retinol isotopic ratios in liver versus serum, the half-life of vitamin A turnover in the body, and the liver to body weight ratio, the serum retinol isotopic ratio can be used in a mathematical equation to provide a numerical estimate of total-body vitamin A stores and of liver vitamin A concentrations.

My second study with the NCP was conducted in Barangays Malabanan and Palsara in Balete, Batangas with funding from the US Department of Agriculture Foreign Agricultural Service. In this study, we aimed to determine the vitamin A requirements of elderly people. Very few vitamin A studies have been done among the elderly; previous studies were mostly conducted in children, and pregnant and lactating women. Using the deuterated-retinol-dilution (DRD) technique, we found that elderly people are also vulnerable to vitamin A deficiency; 14.5 percent of the study participants had low liver vitamin A levels, even though none had serum vitamin A values that are considered low. These data, together with our previous and subsequent data, confirm that stable-isotope-dilution methodology is a powerful tool for assessing vitamin A status. By determining the usual dietary vitamin A intakes of those with adequate versus those with low liver vitamin A, we estimated that vitamin A intakes of about 500 and 400 micrograms daily by elderly men and women, respectively, are advisable for maintaining adequate vitamin A reserves in liver. As examples, 100 grams of malunggay can provide about 645 micrograms of vitamin A, and 100 grams of kamote leaves, about 323 micrograms.

My third study in the Philippines is being funded by the US Department of Agriculture National Research Initiative. In this study, we continue to explore factors influencing the bioefficacy of plant sources of vitamin A. Specifically, this study, the field work of which was conducted among schoolchildren in Barangays Banawang and Overland in Bagac, Bataan, aims to understand the influence of amounts of dietary fat on carotenoid bioavailability and on the bioconversion of plant provitamin A carotenoids into vitamin A. The children were fed standardized vegetable-containing meals three times daily, for five days a week, for nine weeks in their schools; the meals differed only in the amounts of dietary fat they contained. Data analyses are currently in progress and will provide other information such as the vitamin A requirements of this age group, interactions between vitamin A and iron, effect of carotene-rich meals on the prevalence of anemia, and influence of parasitic infections on vitamin A status and iron status.

These studies in the Philippines have contributed substantially to what is now known regarding the use of stable-isotope-dilution methodology (i.e., DRD, as well as a shortened procedure called three-day DRD) in vitamin A studies. The DRD procedure has become the "gold standard" for biochemical assessment of vitamin A status; it is useful for assessing a wide range of status, from deficiency to sub-toxicity. It is the best method available for monitoring the effectiveness of vitamin A intervention programs.

In all our studies in these rural Philippine communities, we make every effort to design the protocol to be as non-invasive as possible (with only the minimum number of blood draws at baseline and at post-intervention), and to provide a benefit not only to the study participants, but also to the community. For example, during the screening phase, the study physician conducted a physical examination of all children whose parents gave their consent, regardless of whether the child would decide to participate in the study or not; those found to have abnormalities were treated or referred to the local clinic for follow-up. Tests for intestinal parasitic infections were done routinely, and those found to have worms were treated. Blood pressure measurements were available to the parents and the community. The studies among the children were designed to be food-intervention studies which provided nutritious meals and/or snacks for nine to 10 weeks at the schools, and employed local residents to assist with meal preparation and clean-up. After the study, some schools were left with a renovated room (the study kitchen/dining area) with running water. The children were provided with school supplies. The elders were given a physical exam, including an electrocardiogram and other medical tests not part of the research agenda. As a result of the tests, several were identified to have tuberculosis and received treatment for it. Medical and nutritional advice was available to everyone.

Our studies in Santa Elena, Hukay, Malabanan, Palsara, Banawang, and Overland have given the research work that I do an added significance that is both profound and special, and I am very thankful. It has been a privilege and a pleasure working in all these places. * * *
The author is a scientist at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center at Tufts University, Boston, Massachusetts, USA, and can be reached via e-mail at judy.ribaya-mercado@tufts.edu. She has a Doctor of Science degree from Harvard University. She is a member of the Philippine Academy of Science and Engineering.
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 10, 2007 11:24 am    Post subject: On enhancing the total-body vitamin A pool size in Filipino Reply with quote

On enhancing the total-body vitamin A pool size in Filipino schoolchildren


Judy D. Ribaya-Mercado, Sc.D.
Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center at Tufts University, 711 Washington St., Boston, Massachusetts 02111, USA


Background

Vitamin A deficiency is a serious public health problem affecting millions of people in Southeast Asia and Africa. Severe tragic consequences may include growth retardation, anemia, reduced resistance to infection, impaired cellular differentiation, and ultimately, blindness, and death. In the Philippines, the 1998 National Nutrition Survey (1) showed that 38.0% of children between the ages of 6 months and 5 years, 22.2% of pregnant women, and 16.5% of lactating women have deficient to low plasma vitamin A (retinol) concentrations. School-aged children are also vulnerable to vitamin A deficiency because the periodic high-dose vitamin A supplements provided by WHO, UNICEF and other agencies to developing nations is targeted only for children up to 5 years of age. The elderly are likewise vulnerable to vitamin A deficiency. A study conducted among Filipino elders residing in rural communities found a 15% prevalence of low liver vitamin A as assessed by stable-isotope-dilution methodology (2).

For the full article:

http://www.bahaykuboresearch.n.....mp;view=64
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 20, 2008 8:36 am    Post subject: Team finds an economical way to boost the vitamin A content Reply with quote

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
17 January 2008

Team finds an economical way to boost the vitamin A content of maize

A team of plant geneticists and crop scientists has pioneered an economical approach to the selective breeding of maize that can boost levels of provitamin A, the precursors that are converted to vitamin A upon consumption. This innovation could help to enhance the nutritional status of millions of people in the developing world.

The new method is described this week in the journal Science.

The team includes scientists from Cornell University, the University of Illinois, Boyce Thompson Institute, DuPont Crop Genetics Research, the University of North Carolina, the City University of New York, the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The innovation involves a new approach for selecting the parent stock for breeding maize, and significantly reduces the ambiguity and expense of finding varieties that yield the highest provitamin A content available. As part of this investigation, the researchers have identified a naturally mutated enzyme that enhances the provitamin A content of maize.

Vitamin A deficiency is a leading cause of eye disease and other health disorders in the developing world. Some 40 million children are afflicted with eye disease, and another 250 million suffer with health problems resulting from a lack of dietary vitamin A.

“Maize is the dominant subsistence crop in much of Sub-Saharan Africa and the Americas,” the researchers write, “where between 17 and 30 percent of children under the age of 5 are vitamin A deficient.”

Maize also is one of the most genetically diverse food crops on the planet, said Torbert Rocheford, a professor of plant genetics in the department of crop sciences at Illinois and a corresponding author on the paper.

This diversity is tantalizing to those hoping to make use of desirable traits, but it also provides a formidable challenge in trying to understand the genetic basis of those attributes.

One hurdle to increasing the provitamin A content of maize has been the expense of screening the parent stock and progeny of breeding experiments, Rocheford said.

A common technique, called high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), can assess the provitamin A content of individual plant lines. But screening a single sample costs $50 to $75, he said.

“That’s really expensive, especially since plant breeders like to screen hundreds or more plants per cycle, twice a year,” he said. “The cost was just prohibitive.”

The new approach uses much more affordable methods and gives a more detailed picture of the genetic endowment of individual lines. One technique the researchers employed, called quantitative trait loci (QTL) mapping, allowed them to identify regions of the maize chromosomes that influence production of the precursors of vitamin A. They also used association mapping, which involves studying variation in selected genes and tracking inheritance patterns to see which form of a gene coincides with the highest provitamin A content. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) allowed them to amplify and sequence the different versions (alleles) of the genes of interest, to find the alleles that boosted levels of vitamin A precursors in the plant.

This approach led to an important discovery. The team found a mutant form of an enzyme vital to the cascade of chemical reactions that produce the precursors of vitamin A in the plant. This mutant is transcribed in lower quantities than the normal allele and steers the biochemistry toward producing higher levels of vitamin A precursors.

The study analyzed 300 genetic lines selected to represent the global diversity of maize, and identified some varieties that came close to the target amount of 15 micrograms of beta-carotene (a form of provitamin A) per gram. Current maize varieties consumed in Africa can have provitamin A content as low as 0.1 micrograms per gram.

The researchers can now inexpensively screen different maize varieties for this allele and breed those that contain it to boost the nutritional quality of the maize, said Rocheford, who also is affiliated with the Institute for Genomic Biology.
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