Efficacy Of Muthokoi Pounded With Green Leafy Vegetables In Improving The Vitamin A Status Using Rats

Majority of Kenyan families especially those from lower socio-economic class feed their children with cereal-based foods sometimes with little vitamin A. Green leafy vegetables are sometimes incorporated, but though containing high levels of vitamin A, do not effectively release the vitamin to the body due to interaction with the leaf matrix. Decortication of maize to produce Muthokoi by pounding in a mortar with pestle sometimes incorporates green leafy vegetables resulting in a greenish yellow product due to infused P-carotene. The P-carotene is presumed to be better available from this Muthokoi because it is only physically bound. This study was designed to assess the efficacy of Muthokoi pounded with pumpkin leaves in improving the vitamin A status of rats with view to relating the results to humans. Different proportions of maize and the pumpkin leaves were pounded and the most appropriate Muthokoi determined. The Muthokoi was analyzed for proximate composition, P-carotene, iron and calcium. The Muthokoi was milled into meal and fed to laboratory rats together with whole maize meal as control. A total of ten rats were used, with five rats as the test group and five rats as the control group. The test group was first induced with vitamin A deficiency to the level of 0.696 ± 0.075pmol/L from serum retinol level of 1.87±1.60pmol/L, after which they were fed with P- carotene enriched Muthokoi for a period of three weeks. The control group was not induced with the deficiency but were fed on the whole maize meal for a period of three weeks. Both the test group and the control had their basal serum retinol levels determined and thereafter the serum retinol levels were determined every three weeks using High Pressure Liquid Chromatography. The proportion of maize and pumpkin leaves that was selected for the study was one part of maize pounded with two parts of pumpkin leaves which resulted to Muthokoi with a (3-carotene content of 465.3±9.20pg/100g. After pounding maize with pumpkin leaves, it was observed that the (3-carotene content of the maize was significantly increased from 26.87pg/100g to 465.3 pg/100g. The Muthokoi was also enriched with calcium and iron to levels of 21.2 ±5.3 17.3±8.24mg/100g respectively. The serum retinol levels of the control and test groups before deficiency induction did not show significant difference (p>0.05) between them. The mean levels of serum retinol among the control group of rats did not change significantly (p>0.05) after the three weeks of feeding, the serum retinol during the three weeks feeding period changed from 1.85±0.214pmol/L to 1.86±0.207|imol/L. The serum retinol levels of the test group after deficiency induction was 0.696 ±0.075 and the content after the intervention was 1.496 ± 0.069 .This showed a significant increase (p<0.05) in the serum retinol levels due to feeding with enriched Muthokoi. The study showed that maize meal from Muthokoi pounded with pumpkin leaves is effective in increasing the vitamin A status of vitamin A deficient rats.