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Small-Quantity Lipid-Based Nutrient Supplements Do Not Affect Plasma or Milk Retinol Concentrations Among Malawian Mothers, or Plasma Retinol Concentrations among Young Malawian or Ghanaian Children in Two Randomized Trials.



Vitamin A (VA) deficiency is prevalent in preschool-aged children in sub-Saharan Africa.


We assessed the effect of small-quantity lipid-based nutrient supplements (SQ-LNS) given to women during pregnancy and lactation and their children from 6 to 18 mo of age on women's plasma and milk retinol concentrations in Malawi, and children's plasma retinol concentration in Malawi and Ghana.


Pregnant women (≤20 wk of gestation) were randomized to receive daily: 1) iron and folic acid (IFA) during pregnancy only; 2) multiple micronutrients (MMN; 800 μg retinol equivalent (RE)/capsule), or 3) SQ-LNS (800 μg RE/20g) during pregnancy and the first 6 mo postpartum. Children of mothers in the SQ-LNS group received SQ-LNS (400 μg RE/20 g) from 6 to 18 mo of age; children of mothers in the IFA and MMN groups received no supplement. Plasma retinol was measured in mothers at ≤20 and 36 wk of gestation and 6 mo postpartum, and in children at 6 and 18 mo of age. Milk retinol was measured at 6 mo postpartum. VA status indicators were compared by group.


Among Malawian mothers, geometric mean (95% CI) plasma retinol concentrations at 36 wk of gestation and 6 mo postpartum were 0.97 μmol/L (0.94, 1.01 μmol/L) and 1.35 μmol/L (1.31, 1.39 μmol/L), respectively; geometric mean (95% CI) milk retinol concentration at 6 mo postpartum was 1.04 μmol/L (0.97, 1.13 μmol/L); results did not differ by intervention group. Geometric mean (95% CI) plasma retinol concentrations for Malawian children at 6 and 18 mo of age were 0.78 μmol/L (0.75, 0.81 μmol/L) and 0.81 μmol/L (0.78, 0.85 μmol/L), respectively, and for Ghanaian children they were 0.85 μmol/L (0.82, 0.88 μmol/L) and 0.88 μmol/L (0.85, 0.91 μmol/L), respectively; results did not differ by intervention group in either setting.


SQ-LNS had no effect on VA status of mothers or children, possibly because of low responsiveness of the VA status indicators.

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