Nutritional status in Linxian, China: effects of season and supplementation

Int J Vitam Nutr Res. 1989;59(2):190-9.


The ability of a supplement to counteract seasonal alterations in nutritional status for certain vitamins was studied in Linxian, an area in northern China with high rates of esophageal cancer. 150 subjects took one daily pill from April to August (16 weeks), whereas 50 subjects did not take any supplement. Deficiencies of ascorbic acid, riboflavin, folic acid, retinol and tocopherol were prevalent at the outset of the study. The changes in diet occurring between the end of the winter (April) and the start of the autumn vegetable harvest (August) were reflected in greatly improved ascorbic acid status and slightly improved riboflavin status. Plasma retinol, tocopherol, alpha-carotene and beta-carotene were little affected by season, whereas erythrocyte folate levels declined. The ascorbic acid, riboflavin, folate, retinol and tocopherol status of the supplemented subjects was significantly improved. After 16 weeks of supplementation, erythrocyte folate levels of subjects with esophageal dysplasia were improved but remained significantly lower than those of normal supplemented subjects, targeting folic acid as a nutrient of particular interest in this precancerous condition.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anthropometry
  • Avitaminosis / complications
  • China
  • Diet
  • Esophageal Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Esophageal Neoplasms / etiology
  • Esophageal Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Female
  • Folic Acid / physiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Minerals / administration & dosage*
  • Minerals / blood
  • Nutritional Status*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Seasons*
  • Vitamins / administration & dosage*
  • Vitamins / blood


  • Minerals
  • Vitamins
  • Folic Acid