Send to

Choose Destination
Am J Clin Nutr. 2004 Jan;79(1):47-53.

Plasma lycopene, other carotenoids, and retinol and the risk of cardiovascular disease in women.

Author information

Division of Preventive Medicine, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02215, USA.



Growing evidence suggests that lycopene has significant in vitro antioxidant potential. Lycopene has rarely been tested in prospective studies for its role in cardiovascular disease (CVD) prevention.


We examined the association between plasma lycopene and the risk of CVD in middle-aged and elderly women.


A prospective, nested, case-control study was conducted in 39 876 women initially free of CVD and cancer in the Women's Health Study. Baseline blood samples were collected from 28 345 (71%) of the women. During a mean of 4.8 y of follow-up, we identified 483 CVD cases and 483 control subjects matched by age, smoking status, and follow-up time. Plasma lycopene, other carotenoids, retinol, and total cholesterol were measured.


In analyses matched for age and smoking, with adjustment for plasma cholesterol, the relative risks (RRs) and 95% CIs of CVD in increasing quartiles of plasma lycopene were 1.00 (referent), 0.78 (95% CI: 0.55, 1.11), 0.56 (0.39, 0.82), and 0.62 (0.43, 0.90). In multivariate models, the RRs were 1.00 (referent), 0.94 (0.60, 1.49), 0.62 (0.39, 1.00), and 0.67 (0.41, 1.11); those in the upper compared with the lower half of plasma lycopene had an RR of 0.66 (0.47, 0.95). For CVD, exclusive of angina, women in the upper 3 quartiles had a significant multivariate 50% risk reduction compared with those in the lowest quartile. The stepwise addition of individual plasma carotenoids did not affect the RRs.


Higher plasma lycopene concentrations are associated with a lower risk of CVD in women. These findings require confirmation in other cohorts, and the determinants of plasma lycopene concentrations need to be better understood.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Silverchair Information Systems
Loading ...
Support Center