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Br J Nutr. 2013 Sep 14;110(5):911-7. doi: 10.1017/S000711451200582X. Epub 2013 Jan 28.

Single v. multiple measures of skin carotenoids by resonance Raman spectroscopy as a biomarker of usual carotenoid status.

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Department of Chronic Disease Epidemiology, Yale School of Public Health, 60 College Street, PO Box 208034, New Haven, CT 06520-8034, USA.


Resonance Raman spectroscopy (RRS) is a non-invasive method of assessing carotenoid status in the skin, which has been suggested as an objective indicator of fruit/vegetable intake. The present study assessed agreement and identified predictors of single v. multiple RRS measures of skin carotenoid status. A total of seventy-four participants had their skin carotenoid status measured in the palm of the hand by RRS at six time points over 6 months. Questionnaires were administered to collect information on demographic, lifestyle and dietary data. Mean age of the participants was 36.6 years, 62.2% were female, 83.8% Caucasian and 85.1% were non-smoking at baseline. There was a good agreement between a single measure of skin carotenoids by RRS and multiple measures (weighted κ = 0.80; 95% CI 0.72, 0.88). The same variables were significantly associated with carotenoid status based on single or multiple measures, including a positive association with intake of total carotenoids (P< 0.01) and an inverse association with season of measurement (P≤ 0.05). The exception was recent sun exposure, which emerged as a significant predictor of lower carotenoid status only when using multiple RRS measures (P≤ 0.01). A single RRS measure was reasonably accurate at classifying usual skin carotenoid status. Researchers using RRS may want to take into account other factors that are associated with the biomarker, including season of measurement and recent sun exposure.

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