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Serum β-Carotene, Retinol, and α-Tocopherol Levels During Mineral Oil Therapy for Constipation

Joseph H. Clark, MD; Gary J. Russell, MD; Joseph F. Fitzgerald, MD; Ken E. Nagamori, MD
Am J Dis Child. 1987;141(11):1210-1212. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1987.04460110080028.
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• Twenty-five children with chronic constipation underwent serial monitoring of serum β-carotene, retinol (vitamin A1), and α-tocopherol (vitamin E) levels during mineral oil therapy. Mineral oil was administered between meals. Patients were monitored for up to four months of therapy. Mean serum β-carotene levels fell from 1.0±0.5 μmol/L (55.7±26.0 μg/dL) to 0.7±0.4 μmol/L (35.9±22.1 μg/dL) after the first month of mineral oil therapy and remained depressed throughout the remainder of the study. Serum α-tocopherol levels remained unchanged throughout the observation period. There was a modest increase in serum retinol levels during the study, especially after three months (from 1.48±0.84 μmol/L [42.3±24.1 μg/dL] to 2.22±0.77 μmol/L [63.5±22.1 μg/dL]). We conclude that while a short course of mineral oil can induce a reduction in the serum level of β-carotene, the treatment has no adverse effect on serum levels of retinol and α-tocopherol.

(AJDC 1987;141:1210-1212)

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