Researchers have recently concluded a cross-sectional study regarding the impact of carotenoids on a group of men and women whose ages ranged from 35 to 74 years old who originated from six European countries. The study focused on how plasma carotenoids, inclusive of alpha- and beta-carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin, beta-cryptoxanthin, lycopene, alpha- and gamma-tocopherol, and retinol are associated with an increase or decrease with age, dietary habits and demographic characteristics.

The result of the study has shown that the impact of certain carotenoids vary, even when taking into account the differing personal habits of the subjects studied. These habits include gender, smoking history, BMI, cholesterol level and fruit and vegetable consumption. Some important carotenoids including alpha-carotene, beta-carotene and lycopene showed a significant reduction with age when personal habits were adjusted. However, plasma beta-cryptoxanthin, lutein, zeaxanthin alpha- and gamma- tocopherol, and retinol did not decrease with age. One variant noted that females and non-smokers who had a higher intake of fruits, vegetables and vitamin supplements had recovered levels of alpha-carotene, alpha-tocopherol and beta-cryptoxanthin in the plasma.

“This is an interesting study and as a matter of fact – the first study that shows that plasma alpha-carotene level reduces with age in men and women,” says CheeYen Lau, Nutritionist of ExcelVite. “In addition, this study also demonstrates that higher intake of fruits and vegetables are positively associated with increased concentration of plasma alpha-carotene. Carotenoids complex with alpha-carotene and beta-carotene has been shown in published studies to be beneficial for Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) and elongation of telomeres. Therefore, it is very important for everyone, especially elderly people to increase plasma alpha-carotene through dietary supplements or foods with high content of alpha carotene in the body for promoting night vision and cardiovascular health."

Posted on WholeFoods Magazine Online, 12/5/2016