Genetically modified carrots provide more calcium

January 14, 2008

A specially developed carrot has been produced to help people absorb more calcium. Researchers at Texas A&M AgriLife’s Vegetable and Fruit Improvement Center studied the calcium intake of humans who ate the carrot and found a net increase in calcium absorption. The research, which was done in collaboration with Baylor College of Medicine, means adding this carrot to the diet can help prevent such diseases as osteoporosis.

“If you eat a serving of the modified carrot, you’d absorb 41 percent more calcium than from a regular carrot,” said Dr. Jay Morris, lead author on the paper, a post doctorate researcher at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.

The finding will be reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences online edition Jan. 14.

“The primary goal was to increase the calcium in fruit and vegetables to benefit human health and nutrition,” Morris said. “Fruit and vegetables are good for you for many reasons, but they have not been a good source of calcium in the past.”

Morris, who worked on the study while earning a doctorate at Texas A&M University, said fruits and vegetables play a role in good bone health for other reasons.

“We believe that if this technology is applied to a large number of different fruits and vegetables, that would have an even greater impact on preventing osteoporosis,” he said.

For this study, the researchers provided the carrots to a group of 15 men and 15 women. The people were fed either the modified carrots, called sCAX1, or regular carrots in the week one. On a second visit two weeks later, they were fed the other type of carrot.

Urine samples were collected 24 hours after each feeding study to determine the amount of specially marked calcium absorbed, Morris explained.

The study group also was evaluated for their normal absorption rate to compare with the rate of absorption from the calcium-enhanced carrots, he said.

He said both men and women absorbed higher amounts of calcium from the modified carrots. But the technology needs to be available in a wide range of fruits and vegetables so that people can get the calcium benefit.

“The daily requirement for calcium is 1,000 milligrams, and a 100 gram serving of these carrots provides only 60 milligrams, about 42 percent of which is absorbable,” he noted. “A person could not eat enough of them to get the daily requirement.”

But if vegetables and fruits could be bred to contain more calcium, then a diet that includes a variety of these produce might come closer to providing necessary calcium, Morris said.

“Increased fruits and vegetables (in the diet) are better for a myriad of reasons,” he said.

Source: Texas A&M University

Explore further: The 411 on vitamins

Related Stories

The 411 on vitamins

September 5, 2016

Whether they come from food or supplements, vitamins are essential to almost every process in your body.

Recommended for you

Natural compound reduces signs of aging in healthy mice

October 27, 2016

Much of human health hinges on how well the body manufactures and uses energy. For reasons that remain unclear, cells' ability to produce energy declines with age, prompting scientists to suspect that the steady loss of efficiency ...

A metabolic switch to turn off obesity

October 27, 2016

You've tried all the diets. No matter: you've still regained the weight you lost, even though you ate well and you exercised regularly! This may be due to a particular enzyme in the brain: the alpha/beta hydrolase domain-6 ...

Scientists develop 'world-first' 3-D mammary gland model

October 27, 2016

A team of researchers from Cardiff University and Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute has succeeded in creating a three-dimensional mammary gland model that will pave the way for a better understanding of the mechanisms ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.