Golden Potato The Answer To Vitamin Deficiencies in Developing Countries
Developing nations will benefit from a new wonder food that could prevent disease and death. Thanks to the brilliant minds of researchers from the Ohio State University who discovered a yellow-orange lab-engineered potato or the so-called experimental “golden” potato that could provide the daily recommended intake of vitamins A and E.
According to the new study, the golden potato has the potential to provide as much as 42 percent of a child’s recommended daily intake of vitamin A and 34 percent of a child’s recommended intake of vitamin E, according to a recent study co-led by researchers at The Ohio State University.
Aside from that, women of reproductive age could get 15 percent of their recommended vitamin A and 17 percent of recommended vitamin E from that same 5.3 ounce (150 gram) serving, the researchers concluded.
This new finding was confirmed by Mark Failla, a member of Ohio State’s Foods for Health Discovery Theme.
Failla said, “These golden tubers have far more vitamin A and vitamin E than white potatoes, and that could make a significant difference in certain populations where deficiencies – and related diseases – are common.”
Potato is staple food in some Asian, African and South American countries where there is a high incidence of vitamin A and vitamin E deficiencies.
Wonder Food to End Vitamin Deficiencies
The team of researchers stressed the importance of Vitamin A and E to human health. Deficiencies of these micronutrients can cause blindness in children. However, they believe it can be prevented. That is why they have launched a research to probe on the potential of the golden potato to cut the prevalence of this disease.
At Failla’s laboratory, the researchers created a simulated digestive system including a virtual mouth, stomach and small intestine to find how much provitamin A and vitamin E could potentially be absorbed by someone who eats a golden potato.
The results were astounding!
The researchers found that the golden potato has high content and availability of vitamin E. Aside from that, the additional carotenoids in the tuber make it a more nutritionally dense food with the potential of improving the health of those who rely heavily upon potatoes for nourishment.
Vitamin A is essential for vision, immunity, organ development, growth and reproductive health. And Vitamin A deficiency is the leading cause of preventable blindness in children. Vitamin E protects against oxidative stress and inflammation, conditions associated with damage to nerves, muscles, vision and the immune system.
Optimistic About the Golden Potato
The researchers were aware of some opposition to their work especially that the improved nutritional quality of the golden potato is only possible using metabolic engineering. However, the food scientists are optimistic about the benefits of the golden potato. They assert that this wonder tuber could eventually help prevent childhood blindness and illnesses and even death of infants, children and mothers in developing nations.
“We have to keep an open mind, remembering that nutritional requirements differ in different countries and that our final goal is to provide safe, nutritious food to billions of people worldwide,” said study co-author Giovanni Giuliano of the Italian National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Development at the Casaccia Research Center in Rome.
Failla stressed, “This golden potato would be a way to provide a much more nutritious food that people are eating many times a week, or even several times a day,” he said.