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Am J Clin Nutr. 2009 Nov;90(5):1402-10. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.2009.28207. Epub 2009 Sep 30.

High dietary antioxidant intakes are associated with decreased chromosome translocation frequency in airline pilots.

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National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Cincinnati, OH 45226, USA.



Dietary antioxidants may protect against DNA damage induced by endogenous and exogenous sources, including ionizing radiation (IR), but data from IR-exposed human populations are limited.


The objective was to examine the association between the frequency of chromosome translocations, as a biomarker of cumulative DNA damage, and intakes of vitamins C and E and carotenoids in 82 male airline pilots.


Dietary intakes were estimated by using a self-administered semiquantitative food-frequency questionnaire. Translocations were scored by using fluorescence in situ hybridization with whole chromosome paints. Negative binomial regression was used to estimate rate ratios and 95% CIs, adjusted for potential confounders.


Significant and inverse associations were observed between translocation frequency and intakes of vitamin C, beta-carotene, beta-cryptoxanthin, and lutein-zeaxanthin from food (P < 0.05). Translocation frequency was not associated with the intake of vitamin E, alpha-carotene, or lycopene from food; total vitamin C or E from food and supplements; or vitamin C or E or multivitamin supplements. The adjusted rate ratios (95% CI) for > or =median compared with <median servings per week of high-vitamin C fruit and vegetables, citrus fruit, and green leafy vegetables were 0.61 (0.43, 0.86), 0.64 (0.46, 0.89), and 0.59 (0.43, 0.81), respectively. The strongest inverse association was observed for > or =median compared with <median combined intakes of vitamins C and E, beta-carotene, beta-cryptoxanthin, and lutein-zeaxanthin from food: 0.27 (0.14, 0.55).


High combined intakes of vitamins C and E, beta-carotene, beta-cryptoxanthin, and lutein-zeaxanthin from food, or a diet high in their food sources, may protect against cumulative DNA damage in IR-exposed persons.

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