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Free Radic Biol Med. 1994 Dec;17(6):537-44.

Effects of a carotene-deficient diet on measures of oxidative susceptibility and superoxide dismutase activity in adult women.

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Western Human Nutrition Research Center, USDA/ARS/PWA, Presidio of San Francisco, CA 94129.


The effect of consuming a low carotene diet (approximately 60 micrograms carotene/day) on oxidative susceptibility and superoxide dismutase (SOD) activity in women living in a metabolic research unit was evaluated. The diet had sufficient vitamins A, E, and C. The women ate the diet supplemented with 1500 micrograms/day beta-carotene for 4 days (baseline), then the unsupplemented diet for 68 days (depletion), followed by the diet supplemented with > 15,000 micrograms/day carotene for 28 days (repletion). Production of hexanal, pentanal, and pentane by copper-oxidized plasma low density lipoproteins from carotene-depleted women was greater than their production of these compounds when repleted with carotene. Erythrocyte SOD activity was depressed in carotene-depleted women; it recovered with repletion. Thiobarbituric acid reactive substances in plasma of carotene-depleted women were elevated and diminished with repletion. Dietary carotene seems to be needed, not only as a precursor of vitamin A, but also to inhibit oxidative damage and decrease oxidation susceptibility.

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