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Plasma levels of six carotenoids in nine European countries: report from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC)

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 January 2007

Wael K Al-Delaimy
Affiliation:
Unit of Nutrition and Cancer, International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), 150 Cours Albert Thomas, 69372 Lyon Cedex 08, France
Pietro Ferrari
Affiliation:
Unit of Nutrition and Cancer, International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), 150 Cours Albert Thomas, 69372 Lyon Cedex 08, France
Nadia Slimani
Affiliation:
Unit of Nutrition and Cancer, International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), 150 Cours Albert Thomas, 69372 Lyon Cedex 08, France
Jean-Paul Steghens
Affiliation:
Biochemistry Laboratory C, Hôpital Edouard Herriot, Lyon, France
Sheila Bingham
Affiliation:
MRC Dunn Human Nutrition Unit, Cambridge, UK
Ingegerd Johansson
Affiliation:
Department of Odontology Cariology, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden
Peter Wallström
Affiliation:
Department of Medicine, Surgery & Orthopaedics, Lund University, Malmö, Sweden
Kim Overvad
Affiliation:
Department of Epidemiology and Social Medicine, University of Aarhus, Aarhus, Denmark
Anne Tjønneland
Affiliation:
Institute of Cancer Epidemiology, Danish Cancer Society, Copenhagen, Denmark
Tim J Key
Affiliation:
Cancer Research UK, Oxford, UK
Ailsa A Welch
Affiliation:
Strangeways Research Laboratory, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK
H Bas Bueno-de-Mesquita
Affiliation:
National Institute of Public Health and the Environment, Bilthoven, The Netherlands
Petra HM Peeters
Affiliation:
Julius Center for Health Sciences and Primary Care, University Medical Center, Utrecht, The Netherlands
Heiner Boeing
Affiliation:
German Institute of Human Nutrition, Potsdam-Rehbrücke, Germany
Françloise Clavel-Chapelon
Affiliation:
INSERM U 521, Institut Gustave Roussy, Villejuif, France
Catherine Guibout
Affiliation:
INSERM U 521, Institut Gustave Roussy, Villejuif, France
Carmen Navarro
Affiliation:
Department of Epidemiology, Health Council of Murcia, Murcia, Spain
Jose Ramón Quirós
Affiliation:
Regional Office of Public Health of Asturias, Oviedo, Spain
Domenico Palli
Affiliation:
Molecular & Nutritional Epidemiology Unit, CSPO, Scientific Institute of Tuscany, Florence, Italy
Egidio Celentano
Affiliation:
Department of Clinical & Experimental Medicine, University of Naples Federico II, Naples, Italy
Antonia Trichopoulou
Affiliation:
University of Athens Medical School, Athens, Greece
Vassiliki Benetou
Affiliation:
University of Athens Medical School, Athens, Greece
Rudolf Kaaks
Affiliation:
Unit of Nutrition and Cancer, International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), 150 Cours Albert Thomas, 69372 Lyon Cedex 08, France
Elio Riboli
Affiliation:
Unit of Nutrition and Cancer, International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), 150 Cours Albert Thomas, 69372 Lyon Cedex 08, France
Corresponding
E-mail address:
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Abstract

Background:

In addition to their possible direct biological effects, plasma carotenoids can be used as biochemical markers of fruit and vegetable consumption for identifying diet–disease associations in epidemiological studies. Few studies have compared levels of these carotenoids between countries in Europe.

Objective:

Our aim was to assess the variability of plasma carotenoid levels within the cohort of the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC).

Methods:

Plasma levels of six carotenoids – α-carotene, β-carotene, β-cryptoxanthin, lycopene, lutein and zeaxanthin – were measured cross-sectionally in 3043 study subjects from 16 regions in nine European countries. We investigated the relative influence of gender, season, age, body mass index (BMI), alcohol intake and smoking status on plasma levels of the carotenoids.

Results:

Mean plasma level of the sum of the six carotenoids varied twofold between regions (1.35μmoll−1 for men in Malmö, Sweden vs. 2.79μmoll−1 for men in Ragusa/Naples, Italy; 1.61μmoll−1 for women in The Netherlands vs. 3.52μmoll−1 in Ragusa/Naples, Italy). Mean levels of individual carotenoids varied up to fourfold (α-carotene: 0.06μmoll−1 for men in Murcia, Spain vs. 0.25μmoll−1 for vegetarian men living in the UK). In multivariate regression analyses, region was the most important predictor of total plasma carotenoid level (partial R2=27.3%), followed by BMI (partial R2=5.2%), gender (partial R2=2.7%) and smoking status (partial R2=2.8%). Females had higher total carotenoid levels than males across Europe.

Conclusions:

Plasma levels of carotenoids vary substantially between 16 different regions in Italy, Greece, Spain, France, Germany, the UK, Sweden, Denmark and The Netherlands. Compared with region of residence, the other demographic and lifestyle factors and laboratory measurements have limited predictive value for plasma carotenoid levels in Europe.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © CAB International 2004

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