Send to

Choose Destination
Eur J Nutr. 2017 Apr;56(3):1045-1052. doi: 10.1007/s00394-016-1152-x. Epub 2016 Jan 27.

Association between leukocyte telomere length and serum carotenoid in US adults.

Author information

Department of Environmental Medicine, College of Medicine, Seoul National University, Seoul, Republic of Korea.
Institute of Health and Environment, School of Public Health, Seoul National University, 599 Gwanak, Gwanak-ro, Gwanak-gu, Seoul, 151-742, Republic of Korea.



Telomere length is a biomarker for aging. It is known that oxidative stress can accelerate telomere shortening, whereas antioxidants can delay their shortening. Carotenoids as antioxidants are favorably associated with health- and aging-related diseases caused by oxidative stress, but their association with telomere length is less certain. We investigated the association between blood carotenoid levels and leukocyte telomere length in a representative sample of US adults.


We analyzed 3660 participants aged 20 years and older in the 1999-2002 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. The levels of carotenoids-alpha-carotene, beta-carotene (trans + cis), beta-cryptoxanthin, combined lutein/zeaxanthin, and trans-lycopene-were measured using high-performance liquid chromatography. The leukocyte telomere length (T/S ratio) was assayed using the quantitative polymerase chain reaction method.


A doubling of blood alpha-carotene, beta-carotene (trans + cis), and beta-cryptoxanthin was associated with approximately 2 % longer telomeres. Compared with the lowest carotenoid quartile of alpha-carotene, beta-carotene (trans + cis), and beta-cryptoxanthin, telomere length for adults with the highest quartiles was significantly increased by 5-8 %.


We found that increasing levels of blood carotenoid were significantly associated with longer leukocyte telomeres in US adults. High intake of carotenoid-rich food may play a role in protecting telomeres and regulating telomere length.


Antioxidant; Carotenoid; Oxidative stress; Telomere

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Springer
Loading ...
Support Center