Associations of plasma carotenoid concentrations and dietary intake of specific carotenoids in samples of two prospective cohort studies using a new carotenoid database.Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 1998 Apr; 7(4):283-90.CE
Diet-plasma carotenoid associations were examined in samples of women and men from each cohort in the Nurses' Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study. In each sample, participants completed two self-administered food frequency questionnaires with at least a 1-year interval and provided a blood specimen preceding the second food frequency questionnaire. Carotenoid intakes were estimated from values for the five major carotenoids found in human plasma, specifically, alpha- and beta-carotene, beta-cryptoxanthin, lutein, and lycopene, using the United States Department of Agriculture-National Cancer Institute Carotenoid Database, as well as updated values for tomato products. Pearson correlation coefficients were calculated to compare diet-plasma correlations over time by sex after adjustment for recognized covariates. Among nonsmoking women (n = 162), the adjusted diet-plasma carotenoid associations were 0.48 for alpha-carotene, 0.27 for beta-carotene and lutein, 0.32 for beta-cryptoxanthin, and 0.21 for lycopene. Among nonsmoking men (n = 110), diet-plasma correlations were 0.47 for alpha-carotene and lycopene, 0.35 for beta-carotene, 0.43 for beta-cryptoxanthin, and 0.40 for lutein. Correlations between total fruit or vegetable intake and each plasma carotenoid level were not as high as any of the calculated carotenoid intake using the new database values. The correlations observed in this study indicate that the new carotenoid database provides valuable information on specific carotenoid intake and may be useful in epidemiological studies that attempt to account for associations between fruit or vegetable intake and disease.