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Br J Nutr. 2007 May;97(5):977-86.

Plasma concentrations of carotenoids and vitamin C are better correlated with dietary intake in normal weight than overweight and obese elderly subjects.

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Departamento Salud Pública, Campus San Juan, Universidad Miguel Hernández, Elche-Alicante, Ctra. Valencia s/n, 03550 Alicante, Spain.


Carotenoid and vitamin C intakes, assessed by FFQ, have been positively associated with plasma concentrations in different populations. However, the influence of BMI on these associations has not been explored in detail. We explored in a cross-sectional study the relation between dietary carotenoid and vitamin C intakes, using a 135-item FFQ, with their plasma concentrations by BMI categories in 252 men and 293 women, 65 years and older. For men and women combined, significant (P < 0.05) Pearson correlations were observed between energy-adjusted dietary intakes and plasma concentrations (carotenoids adjusted for cholesterol) for: alpha-carotene 0.21, beta-carotene 0.19, lycopene 0.18, beta-cryptoxanthin 0.20 and vitamin C 0.36. Multiple linear regression analyses showed that the intake of carotenoids and vitamin C were significant predictors of their respective plasma concentration (P<0.01), and that BMI was inversely associated with plasma concentration of carotenoids (P< or =0.01) but not with plasma vitamin C. In addition, we observed significant interactions between BMI and the intakes of alpha-carotene and lutein + zeaxanthin, and to a lower extent beta-carotene, suggesting that these intakes in subjects with high BMI were not good predictors of their plasma concentration. The present data suggest that plasma carotenoids and vitamin C may be good markers of dietary intake in elderly subjects, but not so for alpha-carotene, beta-carotene and lutein + zeaxanthin in obese subjects.

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