Experts have revealed that the orange maize, also known as yellow maize specie is capable of preventing Vitamin A Deficiency (VAD) in both pregnant women and children, if taken like staple.
A research conducted by the World Health Organization (WHO), revealed that deficiency in vitamin A has led to preventable blindness in children and night blindness in pregnant women as well as being responsible for some diseases and death from severe infections, while increasing the risk of maternal mortality.
According to the findings, while an estimated 250 million preschool children, and quite a large number of pregnant women in Africa and south eastern Asia suffer from vitamin A deficiency, another estimated 250,000 to 500,000 children who are affected, lose their sight every year, of which half die within the year of the disease.
The report noted that, “for children, lack of vitamin A causes severe visual impairment and blindness and significantly, increases the risk of severe illness and even death, from such childhood infections as diarrheal disease and measles.”
Although, measles is treatable, it was confirmed as the leading cause of death in children as stipulated by a report, adding that out of 139,300 global deaths connected to measles infection in 2010, children under the age of 5 were mostly affected.
In another study, WHO explained that Vitamin A Deficiency occurs, “during the last trimester, when demand by both the unborn child and the mother, is highest”, adding that in severe cases, experiences night blindness; a case where, the pregnant woman is unable to see well in the night time or in the dark.
Due to the statistics, pregnant women especially in Africa have been advised to consume more of foods rich in Vitamin A, even as food scientists have added that consumption of orange maize could be a substitute.
WHO also recommends that “all infants and children 6-59 months of age should receive vitamin A supplementation (VAS)if they reside in country, where VAD is classified as either moderate or severe public health significance.”
A study conducted by University of York notes that the rich Vitamin is a necessity as it could help in treatment of different kinds of cancer as it possesses the ability to control the malignant cells, adding that the best bet for the Vitamin is in the natural source.
Similarly, another study done in London, also noted that, the vitamin is good at building immunity in children as well as reducing child mortality by 24 percent, especially in low income countries.
It has been noted that while the abundance of the vitamin in the body helps in development of the central nervous system, sperm cells, regulation of haemoglobin in the embryo, it also fights off signs of ageing.
While Scientists have pointed out that vitamin A consumption is needful, they explained that the one gotten from animal products could be harmful if taken in excess, adding that, one from plant source is better as it turns out not to have a known harmful side effects.
The orange maize is discovered to be rich in beta- carotene, which is converted into Vitamin A during the process of digestion in the body.