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November 1987

Serum β-Carotene, Retinol, and α-Tocopherol Levels During Mineral Oil Therapy for Constipation

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Pediatrics, James Whitcomb Riley Hospital for Children, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis. Dr Clark is now with the Department of Pediatrics, Medical College of Georgia, Augusta.

Am J Dis Child. 1987;141(11):1210-1212. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1987.04460110080028

• Twenty-five children with chronic constipation underwent serial monitoring of serum β-carotene, retinol (vitamin A1), and α-tocopherol (vitamin E) levels during mineral oil therapy. Mineral oil was administered between meals. Patients were monitored for up to four months of therapy. Mean serum β-carotene levels fell from 1.0±0.5 μmol/L (55.7±26.0 μg/dL) to 0.7±0.4 μmol/L (35.9±22.1 μg/dL) after the first month of mineral oil therapy and remained depressed throughout the remainder of the study. Serum α-tocopherol levels remained unchanged throughout the observation period. There was a modest increase in serum retinol levels during the study, especially after three months (from 1.48±0.84 μmol/L [42.3±24.1 μg/dL] to 2.22±0.77 μmol/L [63.5±22.1 μg/dL]). We conclude that while a short course of mineral oil can induce a reduction in the serum level of β-carotene, the treatment has no adverse effect on serum levels of retinol and α-tocopherol.

(AJDC 1987;141:1210-1212)

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