|Year : 2013 | Volume
| Issue : 2 | Page : 106-109
Mint (pudina) can change your vision!
Department of Rasashastra, Vaageshwari Ayurvedic College, Karimnagar, Andhra Pradesh, India
|Date of Web Publication||6-Jul-2013|
D - 101, Doctors Quarters, Prathima Institute of Medical Sciences, Nagnur, Karimnagar, Andhra Pradesh - 505 417
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
Background : Vitamin A deficiency is a major cause of preventable blindness in India.
Aims, Materials and Methods: This study was initially performed to assess prevalence of vitamin A deficiency in a rural village. After data analysis, extremely low levels of vitamin A deficiency disorder was found lower than national average. To know the exact reasons, the initial prevalence study was converted into pilot study, and another phase was added, which included assessment of the dietary habits of population with food frequency questionnaire. To rule out bias, another control population sample was taken on a random sample basis.
Results: The dietary habits of the people showed high intake of mint in the particular area, as that area was a major producer of mint.
Conclusion: We conclude from this study that simple changes in diet can lead to significant reduction in disease burden, without adding cost.
Keywords: Mint, rural, urban, vitamin A deficiency
|How to cite this article:|
Ranade M. Mint (pudina) can change your vision!. J Med Nutr Nutraceut 2013;2:106-9
| Introduction|| |
Vitamin A deficiency is a major public health nutrition problem in India. It contributes to a sizeable proportion of preventable blindness, particularly in young children. It is estimated that 12,000 to 15,000 pre-school children belonging to poor income groups become blind as a result of vitamin A deficiency.  The major cause is inadequate dietary intake of vitamin A.  Hence, the most rational method to prevent and control the disorder is to increase the dietary intake of the vitamin A. Preformed vitamin A is present only in foods of animal origin, which are expensive and beyond the reach of a large population. Simple and cheap alternatives to costly habits are possible. Deficiency of vitamin A has as long been identified a serious and preventable nutritional disease. It also contributes significantly, even at sub-clinical levels, to morbidity and mortality from common childhood infection. Studies suggest that ill health and the risk of death from some infection are also increased even in children who are not clinically deficient but whose vitamin A body stores is depleted. ,
Aims and objectives
To assess prevalence of VAD in the rural south Indian village.
Assess whether cheaper alternatives can reduce prevalence of VAD.
| Materials and Methods|| |
The present study was done in the rural south Indian village. Initially, study design was to assess prevalence of the vitamin A deficiency disorder in rural slums of a Nagnur village in Karimnagar district. 450 patients (age group of 2 years to 15 years) from this area were included in the study to assess prevalence of vitamin A deficiency disorder. Sample size was the total number of children between the study group in the area according to government records. Primary investigator took training of identification of various stages of vitamin A deficiency in local medical college hospital. Prior permission of ethical committee was taken. Primary investigator filled a pre-designed and pre-tested proforma pertaining to the children, which included age, sex, residential address, class in which student is studying, education, occupation of parents, and income of the parents. All the children included in the study were tested in daylight for vitamin A deficiency. Xerophhalmia was diagnosed if there was history of night blindness, or there were signs of conjunctival xerosis, bitots spots, corneal xerosis, or keratomalacia on clinical examination. 
After completion of this cross-sectional study, extremely low levels of vitamin A deficiency disorder was noticed (less than the national average); therefore, this study was converted into pilot study, and subsequent phase was added.
In the second phase of the trial, the same respondents who participated in first pilot phase were included and assessed for their dietary habits, which included use of green leafy vegetables, use of animal products, use of vitamin A supplements by government entities by a food frequency questionnaire. To rule out the bias, same sample size (450) was taken as a control from the urban area of the same district. Primary investigator assessed the control sample by same questionnaire. The result of the study was assessed by SPSS software version 17.
Rural and urban areas were defined in our study as indicated by government of India.
- All places with a municipality, corporation or cantonment or notified town Area
- All other places, which satisfied the following criteria:
A density of population of at least 400 sq. km.
- A minimum population of 5,000.
- At least 75% of the male working population were non-agricultural.
That area, which does not satisfy above criteria.
| Results|| |
Total 450 respondents were assessed by the primary investigator. Following [Table 1], [Table 2], [Table 3] and [Table 4] shows demographic characteristics of the respondents in rural population.
|Table 3: Comparison of prevalence of vitamin A deficiency disorders in urban and rural area|
Click here to view
| Discussion|| |
There is substantial documentation of the prevalence of vitamin A deficiency disorder in various parts of the country by government and non-governmental researchers. The prevalence ranges from 0.3% to 30% across different subgroup of the population in various part of the country. ,,, Our study is no different in the aspect with assessing the prevalence of vitamin A deficiency disorder, which was 0.66 percent, which was less than national average found in the rural south Indian village. (National average is 0.8%) To know the reasons for the fact that a rural village was able to reduce the prevalence of a VAD to national average where coverage by the national blindness control program is same (obtained by government records from the corresponding primary health center), the primary study was converted into a pilot study and another assessment of the dietary habits of the same cluster of population was assessed by food frequency questionnaire. To rule out bias, another sample from the urban area of the same district was assessed for the same parameters, and interesting thing cropped up. The prevalence of VAD is 0.66% in rural population while same in urban population is 2.17%, which is higher than national avarage. When we assessed the dietary habits of the population with the food frequency questionnaire, we found that the use of green leafy vegetable, specially mint, is near universal in the village, using minimum 100 grams of mint per day in every preparation, as the village is the primary producer of mint in the area. Now, remaining dietary habits did not differ significantly between rural and urban population, excepting the use of mint. We conclude that near universal use of mint in the area led the decline in VAD prevalence less than national average.
Mint is a common herb used in Indian kitchen though quantity in which it is used vary significantly among different geographic areas of the country. It is cheap, commonly available, and simple herb. It contains number of vitamin and minerals, which are vital to maintain a healthy body. Mint is rich in vitamin A and vitamin C and also contains smaller amounts of vitamin B2. Present study, though not initially directed towards mint as a remedy for VAD, retrospectively identified the association between use of mind and reduced prevalence of VAD.
Our study is supported by similar researches in Brazil  and by Indian researchers, , which showed the highest percentage of provitamin A in mint leaves, which were determined by high performance liquid chromatography and concluded that these can be a cheaper alternative for vitamin A.
There is a paucity of data regarding use of mint in vitamin A deficiency, our study aims to fill the gap with showing a causal association between the common use of mint in community and reduced prevalence of VAD. Although most people only use a small amount of herbs in cooking, nutritional benefits of mint and other herbs can add up.
The present study has got some limitation. The sampling bias though was avoided with the use of similar background sample from urban population, cultural, and socio-economic factors can also affect VAD. Use of food supplements and fortified food was not taken into consideration while assessing the data. Further randomized control trials are necessary to exactly know the quantity and frequency of mint use in daily diet to reduce VAD disorder, but difficult to do because of ethical issues.
| Conclusion|| |
Vitamin A deficiency is common in India and is a cause of preventable blindness. This retrospective study shows an association between use of mint and reduction in prevalence of VAD in a rural village in India. Simple dietary changes can lead to significant reduction in disease burden without adding to cost.
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[Table 1], [Table 2], [Table 3], [Table 4]