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Human Serum Vitamin A and β-Carotene Contents in Relation to Locally Consumed Foods, Social Status and Gender in Kano Metropolis
Determination of the levels of vitamin A (as retinol) and β-carotene in locally consumed foods in relationship to their occurrence in the serum of individuals grouped according to different social groups and sexes was carried out in Kano metropolis. Both raw and prepared foods (meals/snacks) investigated showed the presence of β-carotene while vitamin A was only present in the latter. The levels of β-carotene in foods/snacks ranged from 2.00 – 3.40 and 88 – 1120 iu/kg in raw foods while that of vitamin A in the former was 13.00 – 23.50 iu/kg. Food/snacks derived from animal products and those made from vitamin A fortified foods showed marginally higher vitamin contents. The mean serum â-carotene and retinol concentrations of the individual grouped according to sex and social class showed significant differences between the three social groups (P < 0.05). The higher the income class, the higher the value of vitamin A and its precursor. There was no significant difference in the â-carotene and retinol concentration between males and females of low income and high income class (P > 0.05). However, there was significant difference between males and females of the medium income class (P < 0.05). These results are discussed in terms of an apparent relationship between income and serum vitamin A content.