Skip to main content

Vitamin A in the diet of laying hens: enrichment of table eggs to prevent nutritional deficiencies in humans

  • H.J.D. LIMA (a1) and L.A.Z. SOUZA (a2)

The concentration of vitamin A in egg yolk is directly related to its inclusion in the diet of laying hens. The vitamin A concentration of the egg yolk is 79 µg/100 g or 263 UI/100 g, and the concentration in 60 g eggs increased from 59 to 75 µg in response to an increase in dietary vitamin A supplementation. Currently, the level of vitamin A recommended for laying hens is 900 UI/day or 9,000 UI/kg feed and 15,000 UI/kg of egg mass. The bioavailability of preformed vitamin A in the egg ranges from 90 to 100%, accounting for about 15% of the daily recommended dietary intake for humans, while bioavailability may vary from 10 to 67%. The table egg is a functional food for humans that can be enriched with vitamin A, and its consumption could be an alternative to prevent and reduce the prevalence of deficiencies, especially in risk groups, such as children and the elderly.

Corresponding author
Corresponding author:
Hide All
ADAM, D. (2010) The Nutrient Rich Foods Index helps identify healthy, affordable foods. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 91: 1095-1101.
AGUIAR, M.D.S., ZAFFARI, S. and HÜBSCHER, G.H. (2009) O ovo e sua contribuição na saúde humana. RevistaSaúde e Ambiente 10: 47-55.
AKHTAR, S., AHMED, A., RANDHAWA, M.A., ATUKORALA, S., ARLAPPA, N. ISMAIL, T. and ALI, Z. (2013) Prevalence of vitamin A deficiency in South Asia: causes, outcomes, and possible remedies. Journal of Health, Population and Nutrition 31: 413.
ANDERSON, K.E. (2013) Comparison of fatty acid, cholesterol, vitamin A and E composition, and trans fats in eggs from brown and white egg strains that were molted or nonmolted. Poultry Science 92: 3259-3265.
BAIRD, F.D., RINGROSE, A.T. and MACMILLAN, M.J. (1939) The Stability of Vitamins A and D in Mixed Feed Ingredients: Part II - Vitamin A. Poultry Science 18: 441-448.
BERTECHINI, A.G. and MAZZUCO, H. (2013) The table egg: a review. Ciência e Agrotecnologia 37: 115-122.
BORTOLOTTI, G.R., NEGRO, J.J., SURAI, P.F. and PRIETO, P. (2003) Carotenoids in eggs and plasma of red-legged partridges: effects of diet and reproductive output. Physiological and Biochemical Zoology 76: 367-374.
BRASIL (2013a) O que é a deficiência de vitamina A? in: BRASIL (Ed) Manual de condutas gerais do Programa Nacional de Suplementação de Vitamina A, Vol. 1, pp. 10-22 (Brasília, Ministério da Saúde).
BUSS, N.E., TEMBE, E.A., PRENDERGAST, B.D., RENWICK, A.G. and GEORGE, C.F. (1994) The teratogenic metabolites of vitamin A in women following supplements and liver. Human & Experimental Toxicology 13: 33-43.
CAO, J, WEI, X., TANG, X., JIANG, H., FAN, Z., YU, Q., CHEN, J., LIU, Y. and LI, T. (2013) Effects of egg and vitamin A supplementation on hemoglobin, retinol status and physical growth levels of primary and middle school students in Chongqing, China. Asia Pacific Journal Clinical Nutrition 22: 214-221.
CHEN, F., JIANG, Z., JIANG, S., LI, L., LIN, X., GOU, Z. and FAN, Q. (2015) Dietary vitamin A supplementation improved reproductive performance by regulating ovarian expression of hormone receptors, caspase-3 and Fas in broiler breeders. Poultry Science 95: 30-40.
COLES, B., BIELY, J. and MARCH, B.E. (1970) Vitamin A deficiency and Eimeria acervulina infection in the chick. Poultry Science 49: 1295-1301.
CONAWAY, H.H., HENNING, P. and LERNER, U.H. (2013) Vitamin A metabolism, action, and role in skeletal homeostasis. Endocrine Reviews 34: 766-797.
CORTES, P.L., TIWARY, A.K., PUSCHNER, B., CRESPO, R.M., CHIN, R.P., BLAND, M. and SHIVAPRASAD, H.L. (2006) Vitamin A deficiency in turkey poults. Journal of Veterinary Diagnostic Investigation 18: 489-494.
EL-HACK, M.E.A., MAHROSE, K., ASKAR, A.A., ALAGAWANY, M., ARIF, M., SAEED, M., ABBASI, F., SOOMRO, R.N., SIYAL, F.A. and CHAUDHRY, M.T. (2016) Single and combined impacts of vitamin A and selenium in diet on productive performance, egg quality, and some blood parameters of laying hens during hot season. Biological Trace Element Research 177: 169-179.
FAN, X., LIU, S., LIU, G., ZHAO, J., JIAO, H., WANG, X., SONG, Z. and LIN, H. (2015) Vitamin A deficiency impairs mucin expression and suppresses the mucosal immune function of the respiratory tract in chicks. PloS one 10: e0139131.
FARIAS, P.K.S., SILVA, V.S., SILVEIERA, M.F., CALDEIRA, A.P. and PINHO, L. (2015) Habitual consumption of vitamin A food sources by preschool children in rural areas in Northern Minas Gerais, Brazil. Revista de Nutrição 28: 533-542.
GARCÍA-DE BLAS, E., MATEO, R. and ALONSO-ALVAREZ, C. (2015) Accumulation of dietary carotenoids, retinoids and tocopherol in the internal tissues of a bird: a hypothesis for the cost of producing colored ornaments. Oecologia 177: 259-271.
GREEN, A.S. and FASCETTI, A.J. (2016) Meeting the vitamin A requirement: the efficacy and importance of β-carotene in animal species. Scientific World Journal 2016: 1-22.
GUO, X., YAN, S., SHI, B. and FENG, Y. (2011) Effect of excessive vitamin a on alkaline phosphatase activity and concentrations of Calcium-binding protein and bone Gla-protein in culture medium and CaBP mRNA expression in osteoblasts of broiler chickens. Asian-Australasian Journal of Animal Sciences 24: 239-245.
HAVIVI, E. and TAL, R. (1973) Phosphatase activity in epiphyseal cartilage of the chicken (Gallus gallus). Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part B: Comparative Biochemistry 46: 709-716.
IDI, A., PERMIN, A., JENSEN, S.K. and MURRELL, K.D. (2007) Effect of a minor vitamin A deficiency on the course of infection with Ascaridiagalli (Schrank, 1788) and the resistance of chickens. Helminthologia 44: 3-9.
İLHAN, M. and BÜLBÜL, T. (2016) Effect of retinol and retinol esters on performance, egg quality, and blood and egg vitamin A levels in laying quais. Turkish Journal of Veterinary and Animal Sciences 40: 590-597.
KHORAMABADI, V., AKBARI, M.R., KHAJALI, F., NOORANI, H. and RAHMATNEJAD, E. (2014) Influence of xylanase and vitamin A in wheat-based diet on performance, nutrients digestibility, small intestinal morphology and digesta viscosity in broiler chickens. Acta Scientiarum Animal Sciences 36: 379-384.
KRALIK, G. and KRALIK, Z. (2017) Poultry products enriched with nutricines have beneficial effects on human health. Medicinski Glasnik 14: 1-7.
LEESON, S. and CASTON, L.J. (2003) Vitamin Enrichment of Eggs. The Journal of Applied Poultry Research 12: 24-26.
LIN, H., WANG, L.F., SONG, J.L., XIE, Y.M. and YANG, Q.M. (2002) Effect of dietary supplemental levels of vitamin A on the egg production and immune responses of heat-stressed laying hens. Poultry Science 81: 458-465.
LIU, Y.Q., DAVIS, C.R., SCHMAELZLE, S.T., ROCHEFORD, T., COOK, M.E. and TANUMIHARDJO, S.A. (2012) β-Cryptoxanthinbiofortified maize (Zea mays) increases β-cryptoxanthin concentration and enhances the color of chicken egg yolk. Poultry Science 91: 432-438.
MAKRIDES, M., HAWKES, J.S., NEUMANN, M.A. and GIBSON, R.A. (2002) Nutritional effect of including egg yolk in the weaning diet of breast-fed and formula-fed infants: a randomized controlled trial. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 75: 1084-1092.
MENDONÇA, C.X. (Jr), ALMEIDA, C.R.M., MORI, A.V. and WATANABE, C. (2002) Effect of dietary vitamin A on egg yolk retinol and tocopherol levels. Journal of Applied Poultry Research 11: 373-378.
MORI, A.V., MENDONÇA, C.X., ALMEIDA, C.R.M. and PITA, M.C.G. (2003) Supplementing Hen Diets with Vitamins A and E Affects Egg Yolk Retinol and α-Tocopherol Levels. Journal of Applied Poultry Research 12:106-114.
NABER, E.C. (1993) Modifying vitamin composition of eggs: a review. The Journal of Applied Poultry Research 2: 385-393.
NELSON, D.L. and COX, M.M. (2014) Lipídeos, in: NELSON, D.L. & COX, M.M. (Eds) Princípios de bioquímica de Lehninger, Vol. 1, pp. 357-385 (Porto Alegre, Artmed).
NOCKELS, C.F. and PHILLIPS, R.W. (1971) Influence of Vitamin A Deficiency on tissue glycogen metabolism in growing chickens. Poultry Science 50: 174-181.
OLIVEIRA, M.R. (2015) Vitamin A and retinoids as mitochondrial toxicants. Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity 2015: 1-13.
PAREDES, J.R. and GARCIA, T.P. (1959) Vitamin A as a factor affecting fertility in cockerels. Poultry Science 38: 3-7.
REBOUL, E. (2013) Absorption of vitamin A and carotenoids by the enterocyte: focus on transport proteins. Nutrients 5: 3563-3581.
RODRIGUEZ-AMAYA, D.B., KIMURA, M. and AMAYA-FARFAN, J. (2008) Fontes brasileiras ricas em carotenoides, in: CORADIN, L. & POMBO, V.B. (Eds) Fontes brasileiras de carotenóides: tabela brasileira de composição de carotenóides em alimentos, Vol. 1, pp. 26-64 (Brasília, Ministério do Meio Ambiente).
ROSTAGNO, H.S., ALBINO, L.F.T., HANNAS, M.I., DONZELE, J.L., SAKOMURA, N.K., PERAZZO, F.G., SARAIVA, A., TEIXEIRA, M.L., RODRIGUES, P.B., OLIVEIRA, R.F., BARRETO, S.L.T. and BRITO, C.O. (2017) Suplemento de vitaminas e minerais para aves e suínos, in: ROSTAGNO, H.S. (Ed) Tabelas brasileiras para aves e suínos, Vol. 1, pp. 435-440 (Viçosa, Universidade Federal de Viçosa).
RUTZ, F., ANCIUTI, M.A. and MAIER, J.C. (2014) Exigências de vitaminas para aves, in: SAKOMURA, N.K., SILVA, J.H.V., COSTA, F.G.P., FERNANDES, J.B.K. & HAUSCHILD, L. (Eds) Nutrição de não-ruminantes, Vol. 1, pp. 389-403 (Jaboticabal, FUNEP).
SANDJAJA, J.I., JAHARI, A.B., HTET, M.K., TILDEN, R.L., SOEKARJO, D., UTOMO, B. and KORENROMP, E.L. (2015) Vitamin A-fortified cooking oil reduces vitamin A deficiency in infants, young children and women: results from a programme evaluation in Indonesia. Public Health Nutrition 18: 2511-2522.
SHETE, V. and QUADRO, L. (2013) Mammalian metabolism of β-carotene: Gaps in knowledge. Nutrients 5: 4849-4868.
SIRRI, F. and BARROETA, A. (2007) Enrichment in vitamins, in: HUOPALAHTI, R., LÓPEZ-FANDIÑO, R., ANTON, M. & SCHADE, R. (Eds) Bioactive egg compounds, Vol. 1, pp. 171-181 (Berlin: Springer).
SONG, W.O. and KERVER, J.M. (2000) Nutritional contribution of eggs to American diets. The Journal of American College of Nutrition 19: 556S-562S.
SUNDEEN, G., RICHARDS, J.F. and BRAGG, D.B. (1980) The effect of vitamin A deficiency on some postmortem parameters of avian muscle. Poultry Science 59: 2225-2236.
UNICAMP (2011) Banco de dados, in: Núcleo de Estudos e Pesquisa em Alimentação - NEPA (Eds) Tabela Brasileira de Composição de Alimentos, Vol. 1, pp. 56-57 (Campinas, UNICAMP).
VAN LOO-BOUWMAN, C.A., NABER, T.H.J. and SCHAAFSMA, G. (2014) A review of vitamin A equivalency of β-carotene in various food matrices for human consumption. British Journal of Nutrition 111: 2153-2166.
WEST, K.P. and MEHRA, S. (2010) Vitamin A intake and status in populations facing economic stress. The Journal of Nutrition 140: 201-207.
ZAIGER, G., NUR, T., BARSHACK, I., BERKOVICH, Z., GOLDBERG, I. and REIFEN, R. (2004) Vitamin A exerts its activity at the transcriptional level in the small intestine. European Journal of Nutrition 43: 259-266.
ZANG, H., ZHANG, K., DING, X., BAI, S., HERNÁNDEZ, J.M. and YAO, B. (2011) Effects of different dietary vitamin combinations on the egg quality and vitamin deposition in the whole egg of laying hens. Revista Brasileira de Ciência Avícola 13: 189-196.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

World's Poultry Science Journal
  • ISSN: 0043-9339
  • EISSN: 1743-4777
  • URL: /core/journals/world-s-poultry-science-journal
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *



Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed