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J Nutr. 1999 Dec;129(12):2170-6.

Some dietary fibers reduce the absorption of carotenoids in women.

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  • 1Institute of Nutrition Science, Technical University of Munich, Freising-Weihenstephan, Germany.


Dietary fiber may be partly responsible for the lower bioavailability of carotenoids from food than from purified supplements. Due to the lack of detailed information available, we investigated the effects of different kinds of dietary fiber on the absorption of carotenoids and alpha-tocopherol. Six healthy young women received an antioxidant mixture consisting of beta-carotene, lycopene, lutein, canthaxanthin and alpha-tocopherol together with a standard meal. The meal did not contain additional dietary fiber or was enriched with pectin, guar, alginate, cellulose or wheat bran (0. 15 g. kg body weight(-1)). The increases in plasma carotenoid and alpha-tocopherol concentrations were followed over 24 h, and the areas-under-curves (AUC(24h)) were calculated. The mean AUC(24h) of beta-carotene was significantly (P < 0.05) reduced by the water-soluble fibers pectin, guar and alginate with a mean decrease of 33-43%. All tested fibers significantly reduced the AUC(24h) of lycopene and lutein by 40-74% (P < 0.05). The dietary fiber effect on the AUC(24h) of canthaxanthin was almost significant (P = 0.059) and there was no effect on the AUC(24h) of alpha-tocopherol. We conclude that the bioavailability of beta-carotene, lycopene and lutein given within a mixed supplement is markedly reduced by different kinds of dietary fiber.

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