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Am J Clin Nutr. 1996 May;63(5):729-34.

Bioavailability of a natural isomer mixture compared with synthetic all-trans beta-carotene in human serum.

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National Institute of Oceanography, Israel Oceanographic and Limnological Research, Haifa.


The unicellular alga Dunaliella bardawil was shown previously to contain very high concentrations of beta-carotene composed of about equal amounts of the all-trans and 9-cis isomers, which differ in their physicochemical features and antioxidative activity. The uptake of alpha- and beta-carotenes, oxycarotenoids, and other lipophilic substances from a basal diet supplemented with synthetic beta-carotene or dry D. bardawil power was studied in humans. Subjects were given a basal diet supplemented daily with 40 mg beta-carotene, synthetic or natural, for a relatively short period of 14 d. Serum analyses at the end of this period detected mainly oxycarotenoids, and to a lesser extent all-trans beta-carotene and alpha-carotene, but not 9-cis beta-carotene. Retinol was increased by the all-trans beta-carotene diet. A high amount of oxidized dienic, lipophilic polar products was exhibited in HPLC predominantly in sera from the placebo and synthetic all-trans beta-carotene groups by strong, short ultraviolet absorbance peaks of 232 nm. The preferential serum absorption of all-trans beta-carotene over 9-cis beta-carotene, in parallel with the appearance of a high concentration of oxidized dienic products with supplementation of the basal diet with all-trans beta-carotene compared with the low concentration of serum-oxidized dienic products with supplementation with a natural beta-carotene source, suggests that 9-cis beta-carotene acts as an in vivo lipophilic antioxidant more efficiently than does all-trans beta-carotene.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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