Fortification of vitamin A in a phytosterol enriched milk maintains plasma beta-carotene levels Academic Article uri icon


  • The aim of the current study was to investigate if the supplementation of vitamin A via a phytosterol enriched low-fat milk could prevent the reduction of plasma beta-carotene concentrations than often occurs after plant sterols' or stanols' intake. A sample of 108 hypercholesterolaemic adults (40-60 years old) was randomized to an enriched milk group that contained among other nutrients phytosterols (0.5 g/100 ml) and vitamin A (111 μg/100 ml) (EMG: n = 40), a placebo plain milk group (PMG: n = 37), and a control group (CG: n = 31) following their usual diet; the EMG and the PMG consumed 500 ml milk per day and in order to ensure compliance with the intervention scheme, attended health and nutrition counselling sessions biweekly over a 3-month period. Dietary intake of vitamin A significantly increased in the EMG compared to the PMG and the CG (P < 0.001) and all groups significantly increased their vegetable consumption. However, no significant differences were found among groups regarding changes in dietary intake of beta-carotene and consumption of fruits. Regarding biochemical indices, total cholesterol, LDL-cholesterol and apolipoprotein-B decreased significantly within all study groups, with the decreases being significantly higher in the EMG compared to the CG (-25.4 vs. -9.9; -21.7 vs. -8.2 and -13.2 vs. -3.4 mg/dl, respectively; P < 0.05). Plasma concentrations of beta-carotene did not change in any of the three groups. Extra fortification of a phytosterol enriched milk with vitamin A seems to be useful in maintaining plasma beta-carotene levels of hypercholesterolemic adults after consumption of 2.5 g/d of phytosterols over a 3-month intervention period.

publication date

  • 2014