Plasma Carotenoids as Biomarkers of Vegetable Intake: The University of Minnesota Cancer Prevention Research Unit Feeding Studies

M. C. Martini, D. R. Campbell, Joanne L Slavin, Myron D Gross, J. D. Potter, Gregory A Grandits

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

81 Scopus citations

Abstract

High vegetable intake bas been associated with a decreased risk for various human cancers in epidemiological studies. Carotenoids are plant compounds that may both possess chemopreventive activity and be useful biomarkers of vegetable and fruit intake. Nineteen men and women were randomized into a controlled crossover feeding study to measure the effect of vegetable intake on plasma carotenoid concentrations. Participants consumed each of 4 experimental diets for 9 days. The control diet consisted of commonly consumed foods and was essentially carotenoid free. High vegetable diets (carotenoid, cruciferous, and soy) consisted of the control diet plus carrots and spinach (carotenoid), broccoli and cauliflower (cruciferous), and tofu and FriChik (soy). Plasma carotenoid concentrations were highest on the carotenoid and cruciferous diets. When compared to the control, mean plasma a-carotene, β-carotene, and lutein concentrations were 5.2, 3.3, and 2.2 times higher on the carotenoid diet, respectively (P < 0.001). Mean plasma lutein concentrations were 2.1 times higher on the cruciferous versus the control diet (P < 0.001). There were no differences between diets in plasma β-cryptoxanthin and lycopene concentrations. These data indicate that plasma a-carotene, β-carotene, and lutein may be useful biomarkers of carotenoid-rich food intake and that lutein may act as an intake biomarker of commonly consumed vegetables in the Cruciferae family. These findings should prove useful in undertaking dietary intervention trials because they suggest the feasibility of monitoring intake of some plant foods and of distinguishing among plant food groups.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)491-496
Number of pages6
JournalCancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention
Volume4
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jul 1 1995

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