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Vitamins A and E: metabolism, roles and transfer to offspring

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  08 March 2007

C. Debier*
Institut des Sciences de la Vie, Unité de Biochimie de la Nutrition, Université catholique de Louvain, Croix du Sud 2/8, B-1348 Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium
Y. Larondelle
Institut des Sciences de la Vie, Unité de Biochimie de la Nutrition, Université catholique de Louvain, Croix du Sud 2/8, B-1348 Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium
*Corresponding author: Dr C. Debier, fax +32 10 473728, email
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Vitamins A and E are essential, naturally occurring, fat-soluble nutrients that are involved in several important biological processes such as immunity, protection against tissue damage, reproduction, growth and development. They are extremely important during the early stages of life and must be transferred adequately to the young during gestation and lactation. The present article presents an overview of their biological functions, metabolism and dynamics of transfer to offspring in mammals. Among other topics, the review focuses on the biochemical aspects of their intestinal absorption, blood transport, tissue uptake, storage and catabolism. It also describes their different roles as well as their use as preventive and therapeutic agents. Finally, the mechanisms involved in their transfer during gestation and lactation are discussed.

Review article
Copyright © The Nutrition Society 2005


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