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Open AccessArticle

Plasma Carotenoids, Tocopherols, and Retinol in the Age-Stratified (35–74 Years) General Population: A Cross-Sectional Study in Six European Countries

Institute of Biological Chemistry and Nutrition, University of Hohenheim, Stuttgart 70599, Germany
Institute of Nutrition, Friedrich-Schiller-University, Jena 07743, Germany
Department of Molecular Toxicology, German Institute of Human Nutrition Potsdam-Rehbruecke (DIfE), Nuthetal 14558, Germany
National Institute of Public Health and the Environment (RIVM), BA Bilthoven 3721, The Netherlands
Institute for Biomedical Aging Research, Leipold-Franzens-University, Innsbruck 6020, Austria
Institute for Nutritional Sciences and Physiology, University for Health Sciences, Hall in Tirol 6060, Austria
Unit of Cellular Biochemistry and Biology, University of Namur, Namur 5000, Belgium
BioTeSys GmbH, Esslingen 73728, Germany
Institute of Biological Research and Biotechnology, National Hellenic Research Foundation (NHRF), Athens 11635, Greece
Department of Experimental Pathology, University of Bologna, Bologna 40126, Italy
Nencki Institute of Experimental Biology, Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw 02-093, Poland
Molecular Toxicology, Department of Biology, University of Konstanz, Konstanz 78457, Germany
Department of Applied Nutritional Science/Dietetics, Institute of Nutritional Medicine, University of Hohenheim, Stuttgart 70599, Germany
German Center for Diabetes Research (DZD), Munich-Neuherberg 85764, Germany
German Center for Cardiovascular Research (DZHK), Berlin 13357, Germany
NutriAct-Competence Cluster Nutrition Research Berlin-Potsdam, Nuthetal 14458, Germany
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Nutrients 2016, 8(10), 614;
Received: 19 July 2016 / Revised: 26 September 2016 / Accepted: 27 September 2016 / Published: 30 September 2016
Blood micronutrient status may change with age. We analyzed plasma carotenoids, α-/γ-tocopherol, and retinol and their associations with age, demographic characteristics, and dietary habits (assessed by a short food frequency questionnaire) in a cross-sectional study of 2118 women and men (age-stratified from 35 to 74 years) of the general population from six European countries. Higher age was associated with lower lycopene and α-/β-carotene and higher β-cryptoxanthin, lutein, zeaxanthin, α-/γ-tocopherol, and retinol levels. Significant correlations with age were observed for lycopene (r = −0.248), α-tocopherol (r = 0.208), α-carotene (r = −0.112), and β-cryptoxanthin (r = 0.125; all p < 0.001). Age was inversely associated with lycopene (−6.5% per five-year age increase) and this association remained in the multiple regression model with the significant predictors (covariables) being country, season, cholesterol, gender, smoking status, body mass index (BMI (kg/m2)), and dietary habits. The positive association of α-tocopherol with age remained when all covariates including cholesterol and use of vitamin supplements were included (1.7% vs. 2.4% per five-year age increase). The association of higher β-cryptoxanthin with higher age was no longer statistically significant after adjustment for fruit consumption, whereas the inverse association of α-carotene with age remained in the fully adjusted multivariable model (−4.8% vs. −3.8% per five-year age increase). We conclude from our study that age is an independent predictor of plasma lycopene, α-tocopherol, and α-carotene. View Full-Text
Keywords: carotenoids; plasma; age; Europe; micronutrients; lycopene; retinol; tocopherols carotenoids; plasma; age; Europe; micronutrients; lycopene; retinol; tocopherols
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Stuetz, W.; Weber, D.; Dollé, M.E.T.; Jansen, E.; Grubeck-Loebenstein, B.; Fiegl, S.; Toussaint, O.; Bernhardt, J.; Gonos, E.S.; Franceschi, C.; Sikora, E.; Moreno-Villanueva, M.; Breusing, N.; Grune, T.; Bürkle, A. Plasma Carotenoids, Tocopherols, and Retinol in the Age-Stratified (35–74 Years) General Population: A Cross-Sectional Study in Six European Countries. Nutrients 2016, 8, 614.

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