Special Issue "Carotenoids and Human Health"

A special issue of Nutrients (ISSN 2072-6643).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (28 February 2019).

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Jaume Amengual
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Food Sciences and Human Nutrition, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Illinois, USA
Tel. 217-300-7716
Interests: carotenoids; retinoids; atherosclerosis; obesity; lipoproteins; nutrigenomics

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Carotenoids are a group or nearly 600 pigments, mostly synthetized by plants, and present in our daily diet in fruits and vegetables; however, they are also present in some animals, such as salmon and seafood. Carotenoids are also a target of the growing food supplement industry market, which is estimated to have a revenue of over $110 million/year (only in the US). Approximately 20 different carotenoids are present in human plasma, and some of these carotenoids and their derivatives, such as vitamin A, act as bioactive compounds regulating key physiological processes including vision, energy metabolism, embryo development, and cancer. To date, however, the role of most of these compounds has not been completely understood.

The aim of this Special Issue entitled “Carotenoids and Human Health” is to provide the scientific community with an updated perspective of this exciting and growing research field. We are currently in the process of calling for scientific reviews and original publications until 28 February, 2019. Manuscripts covering topics ranging from the molecular mechanisms of action of carotenoids and derivatives in animal models to human population studies or dietary interventions are invited to participate.

Prof. Jaume Amengual
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Nutrients is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Carotenoids
  • Apocarotenoids
  • Vitamin A
  • Nutrition
  • Human health

Published Papers (19 papers)

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Editorial

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Open AccessEditorial
Bioactive Properties of Carotenoids in Human Health
Nutrients 2019, 11(10), 2388; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11102388 - 06 Oct 2019
Abstract
Research shows that certain bioactive compounds in our diet have beneficial effects on human
health[...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Carotenoids and Human Health)

Research

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Open AccessArticle
Dietary Carotenoids and Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease among US Adults, NHANES 2003–2014
Nutrients 2019, 11(5), 1101; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11051101 - 17 May 2019
Cited by 3
Abstract
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is highly prevalent worldwide. Oxidative stress is thought to be a major mechanism, and previous epidemiological studies found higher serum levels of antioxidant carotenoids were associated with reduced risk for development and progression of NAFLD. The objective of [...] Read more.
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is highly prevalent worldwide. Oxidative stress is thought to be a major mechanism, and previous epidemiological studies found higher serum levels of antioxidant carotenoids were associated with reduced risk for development and progression of NAFLD. The objective of this analysis is to examine cross-sectional associations between dietary and serum levels of carotenoids in relation to NAFLD among a nationally representative sample of US adults. We used data from the 2003–2014 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). Dietary carotenoid intake was estimated from a 24-hour recall, while serum carotenoids were measured from 2003 to 2006. The NAFLD status was determined based upon US Fatty Liver Index (FLI) value ≥30. Regression models were used to estimate associations between carotenoids and NAFLD by controlling for covariates and adjusting for survey design variables. Overall, 33% of participants were classified as having NAFLD. Intake of all carotenoids, with the exception of lycopene, was lower among those with NAFLD. This association was significant for the highest quartiles of intake of α-carotene, β-carotene, β-cryptoxanthin, and lutein/zeaxanthin. For serum measures, the highest level of all carotenoids was associated with significantly reduced odds of NAFLD. In conclusion, higher intake and serum levels of most carotenoids were associated with lower odds of having NAFLD. Identification of such modifiable lifestyle factors provide an opportunity to limit or prevent the disease and its progression. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Carotenoids and Human Health)
Open AccessArticle
Effect of Tomato Nutrient Complex on Blood Pressure: A Double Blind, Randomized Dose–Response Study
Nutrients 2019, 11(5), 950; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11050950 - 26 Apr 2019
Abstract
Oxidative stress is implicated in the pathogenesis of essential hypertension, a risk factor for cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. Tomato carotenoids such as lycopene and the colorless carotenoids phytoene and phytofluene induce the antioxidant defense mechanism. This double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study aimed to find [...] Read more.
Oxidative stress is implicated in the pathogenesis of essential hypertension, a risk factor for cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. Tomato carotenoids such as lycopene and the colorless carotenoids phytoene and phytofluene induce the antioxidant defense mechanism. This double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study aimed to find effective doses of Tomato Nutrient Complex (TNC) to maintain normal blood pressure in untreated hypertensive individuals. The effect of TNC treatment (5, 15 and 30 mg lycopene) was compared with 15 mg of synthetic lycopene and a placebo over eight weeks. Results indicate that only TNC treatment standardized for 15 or 30 mg of lycopene was associated with significant reductions in mean systolic blood pressure (SBP). Treatment with the lower dose standardized for 5 mg of lycopene or treatment with 15 mg of synthetic lycopene as a standalone had no significant effect. To test carotenoid bioavailability, volunteers were treated for four weeks with TNC providing 2, 5 or 15 mg lycopene. The increase in blood levels of lycopene, phytoene, and phytofluene was dose dependent. Results suggest that only carotenoid levels achieved by the TNC dose of 15 mg lycopene or higher correlate to a beneficial effect on SBP in hypertensive subjects while lower doses and lycopene alone do not. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Carotenoids and Human Health)
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Open AccessArticle
A Lipophilic Fucoxanthin-Rich Phaeodactylum tricornutum Extract Ameliorates Effects of Diet-Induced Obesity in C57BL/6J Mice
Nutrients 2019, 11(4), 796; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11040796 - 06 Apr 2019
Abstract
Phaeodactylum tricornutum (P. tricornutum) comprise several lipophilic constituents with proposed anti-obesity and anti-diabetic properties. We investigated the effect of an ethanolic P. tricornutum extract (PTE) on energy metabolism in obesity-prone mice fed a high fat diet (HFD). Six- to eight-week-old male [...] Read more.
Phaeodactylum tricornutum (P. tricornutum) comprise several lipophilic constituents with proposed anti-obesity and anti-diabetic properties. We investigated the effect of an ethanolic P. tricornutum extract (PTE) on energy metabolism in obesity-prone mice fed a high fat diet (HFD). Six- to eight-week-old male C57BL/6J mice were switched to HFD and, at the same time, received orally placebo or PTE (100 mg or 300 mg/kg body weight/day). Body weight, body composition, and food intake were monitored. After 26 days, blood and tissue samples were collected for biochemical, morphological, and gene expression analyses. PTE-supplemented mice accumulated fucoxanthin metabolites in adipose tissues and attained lower body weight gain, body fat content, weight of white adipose tissue (WAT) depots, and inguinal WAT adipocyte size than controls, independent of decreased food intake. PTE supplementation was associated with lower expression of Mest (a marker of fat tissue expandability) in WAT depots, lower gene expression related to lipid uptake and turnover in visceral WAT, increased expression of genes key to fatty acid oxidation and thermogenesis (Cpt1, Ucp1) in subcutaneous WAT, and signs of thermogenic activation including enhanced UCP1 protein in interscapular brown adipose tissue. In conclusion, these data show the potential of PTE to ameliorate HFD-induced obesity in vivo. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Carotenoids and Human Health)
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Open AccessArticle
Serum Lutein is related to Relational Memory Performance
Nutrients 2019, 11(4), 768; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11040768 - 02 Apr 2019
Abstract
Dietary carotenoids, plant pigments with anti-oxidant properties, accumulate in neural tissue and are often found in lower concentrations among individuals with obesity. Given previous evidence of negative associations between excess adiposity and memory, it is possible that greater carotenoid status may confer neuroprotective [...] Read more.
Dietary carotenoids, plant pigments with anti-oxidant properties, accumulate in neural tissue and are often found in lower concentrations among individuals with obesity. Given previous evidence of negative associations between excess adiposity and memory, it is possible that greater carotenoid status may confer neuroprotective effects among persons with overweight or obesity. This study aimed to elucidate relationships between carotenoids assessed in diet, serum, and the macula (macular pigment optical density (MPOD)) and relational memory among adults who are overweight or obese. Adults aged 25–45 years (N = 94) completed a spatial reconstruction task. Task performance was evaluated for accuracy of item placement during reconstruction relative to the location of the item during the study phase. Dietary carotenoids were assessed using 7-day diet records. Serum carotenoids were measured using high-performance liquid chromatography. Hierarchical linear regression analyses were used to determine the relationship between carotenoids and task performance. Although initial correlations indicated that dietary lutein, beta-carotene, and serum beta-carotene were positively associated with memory performance, these relationships were not sustained following adjustment for age, sex, and BMI. Serum lutein remained positively associated with accuracy in object binding and inversely related to misplacement error after controlling for covariates. Macular carotenoids were not related to memory performance. Findings from this study indicate that among the carotenoids evaluated, lutein may play an important role in hippocampal function among adults who are overweight or obese. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Carotenoids and Human Health)
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Open AccessArticle
β-Cryptoxanthin Reduces Body Fat and Increases Oxidative Stress Response in Caenorhabditis elegans Model
Nutrients 2019, 11(2), 232; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11020232 - 22 Jan 2019
Abstract
β-Cryptoxanthin (BCX) is a major dietary pro-vitamin A carotenoid, found mainly in fruits and vegetables. Several studies showed the beneficial effects of BCX on different aspects of human health. In spite of the evidence, the molecular mechanisms of action of BCX need to [...] Read more.
β-Cryptoxanthin (BCX) is a major dietary pro-vitamin A carotenoid, found mainly in fruits and vegetables. Several studies showed the beneficial effects of BCX on different aspects of human health. In spite of the evidence, the molecular mechanisms of action of BCX need to be further investigated. The Caenorhabditis elegans model was used to analyze in vivo the activity of BCX on fat reduction and protection to oxidative stress. Dose-response assays provided evidence of the efficacy of BCX at very low dose (0.025 µg/mL) (p < 0.001) on these processes. Moreover, a comparative analysis with other carotenoids, such as lycopene and β-carotene, showed a stronger effect of BCX. Furthermore, a transcriptomic analysis of wild-type nematodes supplemented with BCX revealed upregulation of the energy metabolism, response to stress, and protein homeostasis as the main metabolic targets of this xanthophyll. Collectively, this study provides new in vivo evidence of the potential therapeutic use of BCX in the prevention of diseases related to metabolic syndrome and aging. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Carotenoids and Human Health)
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Open AccessArticle
Carotenoid Content in Human Colostrum is Associated to Preterm/Full-Term Birth Condition
Nutrients 2018, 10(11), 1654; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu10111654 - 03 Nov 2018
Cited by 4
Abstract
Factors such as lactation stage and premature and small-for-gestational conditions could lead to great inter-individual variability in the carotenoid content of human milk. The aim was to analyze the carotenoid content in colostrum and mature milk of preterm (PT) and full-term (FT) mothers [...] Read more.
Factors such as lactation stage and premature and small-for-gestational conditions could lead to great inter-individual variability in the carotenoid content of human milk. The aim was to analyze the carotenoid content in colostrum and mature milk of preterm (PT) and full-term (FT) mothers to establish whether they are significantly different and, if so, the stage of lactation when the differences are established. Samples of blood, colostrum, and mature milk were collected from Spanish donating mothers who gave birth to PT or FT infants. Carotenoids from serum and milk samples were analyzed by HPLC-atmospheric pressure chemical ionization (APCI)-MS. Quantitatively, colostrum from PT mothers presented lower total carotenoid content when compared to that from FT mothers. The only exception was lutein, where levels were not different. The transition from colostrum to mature milk makes observed differences in the carotenoid content disappear, since there were no variances between PT and FT groups for both individual and total carotenoid content. The premature birth condition affects the quantitative carotenoid composition of the colostrum but has no effect on the lutein content. This fact could be related to the significant role of this xanthophyll in the development of infant retina and feasibly to cognitive function. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Carotenoids and Human Health)
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Open AccessCommunication
Serum Carotenoids Reveal Poor Fruit and Vegetable Intake among Schoolchildren in Burkina Faso
Nutrients 2018, 10(10), 1422; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu10101422 - 04 Oct 2018
Abstract
The health benefits of fruits and vegetables are well-documented. Those rich in provitamin A carotenoids are good sources of vitamin A. This cross-sectional study indirectly assessed fruit and vegetable intakes using serum carotenoids in 193 schoolchildren aged 7 to 12 years in the [...] Read more.
The health benefits of fruits and vegetables are well-documented. Those rich in provitamin A carotenoids are good sources of vitamin A. This cross-sectional study indirectly assessed fruit and vegetable intakes using serum carotenoids in 193 schoolchildren aged 7 to 12 years in the Western part of Burkina Faso. The mean total serum carotenoid concentration was 0.23 ± 0.29 µmol/L, which included α- and β-carotene, lutein, and β-cryptoxanthin, and determined with serum retinol concentrations in a single analysis with high performance liquid chromatography. Serum retinol concentration was 0.80 ± 0.35 µmol/L with 46% of children (n = 88) having low values <0.7 µmol/L. Total serum carotene (the sum of α- and β-carotene) concentration was 0.13 ± 0.24 µmol/L, well below the reference range of 0.9–3.7 µmol carotene/L used to assess habitual intake of fruits and vegetables. Individual carotenoid concentrations were determined for α-carotene (0.01 ± 0.05 µmol/L), β-carotene (0.17 ± 0.24 µmol/L), β-cryptoxanthin (0.07 ± 0.06 µmol/L), and lutein (0.06 ± 0.05 µmol/L). These results confirm the previously measured high prevalence of low serum vitamin A concentrations and adds information about low serum carotenoids among schoolchildren suggesting that they have low intakes of provitamin A-rich fruits and vegetables. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Carotenoids and Human Health)
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Open AccessArticle
Reduced Carotenoid and Retinoid Concentrations and Altered Lycopene Isomer Ratio in Plasma of Atopic Dermatitis Patients
Nutrients 2018, 10(10), 1390; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu10101390 - 01 Oct 2018
Cited by 2
Abstract
Carotenoids and retinoids are known to alter the allergic response with important physiological roles in the skin and the immune system. In the human organism various carotenoids are present, some of which are retinoid precursors. The bioactive derivatives of these retinoids are the [...] Read more.
Carotenoids and retinoids are known to alter the allergic response with important physiological roles in the skin and the immune system. In the human organism various carotenoids are present, some of which are retinoid precursors. The bioactive derivatives of these retinoids are the retinoic acids, which can potently activate nuclear hormone receptors such as the retinoic acid receptor and the retinoid X receptor. In this study, we aimed to assess how plasma carotenoid and retinoid concentrations along with the ratio of their isomers are altered in atopic dermatitis (AD) patients (n = 20) compared to healthy volunteers (HV, n = 20). The study indicated that plasma levels of the carotenoids lutein (HV 198 ± 14 ng/mL, AD 158 ± 12 ng/mL, p = 0.02; all values in mean ± SEM), zeaxanthin (HV 349 ± 30 ng/mL, AD 236 ± 18 ng/mL, p ≤ 0.01), as well as the retinoids retinol (HV 216 ± 20 ng/mL, AD 167 ± 17 ng/mL, p = 0.04) and all-trans-retinoic acid (HV 1.1 ± 0.1 ng/mL, AD 0.7 ± 0.1 ng/mL, p = 0.04) were significantly lower in the AD-patients, while lycopene isomers, α-carotene, and β-carotene levels were comparable to that determined in the healthy volunteers. In addition, the ratios of 13-cis- vs. all-trans-lycopene (HV 0.31 ± 0.01, AD 0.45 ± 0.07, p = 0.03) as well as 13-cis- vs. all-trans-retinoic acid (HV 1.4 ± 0.2, AD 2.6 ± 0.6, p = 0.03) were increased in the plasma of AD-patients indicating an AD-specific 13-cis-isomerisation. A positive correlation with SCORAD was calculated with 13-cis- vs. all-trans-lycopene ratio (r = 0.40, p = 0.01), while a negative correlation was observed with zeaxanthin plasma levels (r = −0.42, p = 0.01). Based on our results, we conclude that in the plasma of AD-patients various carotenoids and retinoids are present at lower concentrations, while the ratio of selected lycopene isomers also differed in the AD-patient group. An increase in plasma isomers of both lycopene and retinoic acid may cause an altered activation of nuclear hormone receptor signaling pathways and thus may be partly responsible for the AD-phenotype. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Carotenoids and Human Health)
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Open AccessArticle
Astaxanthin Prevents Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease by Modulating Mouse Gut Microbiota
Nutrients 2018, 10(9), 1298; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu10091298 - 13 Sep 2018
Cited by 5
Abstract
The development and progression of alcoholic fatty liver disease (AFLD) is influenced by the intestinal microbiota. Astaxanthin, a type of oxygenated carotenoid with strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, has been proven to relieve liver injury. However, the relationship between the gut microbiota regulation [...] Read more.
The development and progression of alcoholic fatty liver disease (AFLD) is influenced by the intestinal microbiota. Astaxanthin, a type of oxygenated carotenoid with strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, has been proven to relieve liver injury. However, the relationship between the gut microbiota regulation effect of astaxanthin and AFLD improvement remains unclear. The effects of astaxanthin on the AFLD phenotype, overall structure, and composition of gut microbiota were assessed in ethanol-fed C57BL/6J mice. The results showed that astaxanthin treatment significantly relieves inflammation and decreases excessive lipid accumulation and serum markers of liver injury. Furthermore, astaxanthin was shown to significantly decrease species from the phyla Bacteroidetes and Proteobacteria and the genera Butyricimonas, Bilophila, and Parabacteroides, as well as increase species from Verrucomicrobia and Akkermansia compared with the Et (ethanol)group. Thirteen phylotypes related to inflammation as well as correlated with metabolic parameters were significantly altered by ethanol, and then notably reversed by astaxanthin. Additionally, astaxanthin altered 18 and 128 KEGG (Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes) pathways involved in lipid metabolism and xenobiotic biodegradation and metabolism at levels 2 and 3, respectively. These findings suggest that Aakkermansia may be a potential target for the astaxanthin-induced alleviation of AFLD and may be a potential treatment for bacterial disorders induced by AFLD. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Carotenoids and Human Health)
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Open AccessArticle
Biological Active Ecuadorian Mango ‘Tommy Atkins’ Ingredients—An Opportunity to Reduce Agrowaste
Nutrients 2018, 10(9), 1138; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu10091138 - 21 Aug 2018
Cited by 4
Abstract
Mango is a commercially important tropical fruit. During its processing, peel and seed kernel are discarded as waste but they could be recovered as an excellent and cost-effective source of health-promoting ingredients. This study aimed to characterize some of them, including carotenoids like [...] Read more.
Mango is a commercially important tropical fruit. During its processing, peel and seed kernel are discarded as waste but they could be recovered as an excellent and cost-effective source of health-promoting ingredients. This study aimed to characterize some of them, including carotenoids like the provitamin A β-carotene and lutein, with an interest beyond its role in eye health. Other health-promoting compounds like tocopherols and polyphenols were also evaluated, as well as the in vitro antioxidant capacity of mango by-products. Regarding isoprenoids, α-tocopherol was mainly found in the peels and carotenoids concentration was higher in the pulps. β-carotene was the most abundant carotene in pulp and seed kernel, whereas peel was the only source of lutein, with violaxanthin the most abundant xanthophyll in the different mango organs tested. With regard to polyphenols, peels exhibited greater variability in its phenolic composition, being the total content up to 85 and 10 times higher than the pulp and seed kernels, respectively. On the other hand, peels also stood out for being a very rich source of mangiferin. Seed kernels and peels showed higher antioxidant capacity values than the pulps. These results contribute to the valorization of mango by-products as new natural ingredients for the pharma and food industries. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Carotenoids and Human Health)
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Open AccessArticle
Low Serum Carotenoids Are Associated with Self-Reported Cognitive Dysfunction and Inflammatory Markers in Breast Cancer Survivors
Nutrients 2018, 10(8), 1111; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu10081111 - 17 Aug 2018
Cited by 1
Abstract
Background: Dietary carotenoids may exert anti-inflammatory activities to reduce inflammation-driven cognitive impairments during cancer and cancer treatment. Our objective was to explore if cognitive function in breast cancer survivors (BCS) differs by serum carotenoid concentrations, and if blood carotenoids concentrations are associated with [...] Read more.
Background: Dietary carotenoids may exert anti-inflammatory activities to reduce inflammation-driven cognitive impairments during cancer and cancer treatment. Our objective was to explore if cognitive function in breast cancer survivors (BCS) differs by serum carotenoid concentrations, and if blood carotenoids concentrations are associated with reduced systemic inflammation. Methods: Objective cognitive function and perceived cognitive impairment of 29 BCS and 38 controls were assessed cross-sectionally with the National Institutes of Health Toolbox Cognition Battery and The Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy-Cognitive Function Questionnaire, respectively. Serum carotenoid and inflammatory marker (sTNF-RII, IL-6, IL-1ra, CRP) concentrations were measured. Results: Low-carotenoid BCS had more cognitive complaints compared to the low-carotenoid controls (Mdiff = −43.0, p < 0.001) and high-carotenoid controls (Mdiff = −44.5, p < 0.001). However, the cognitive complaints of high-carotenoid BCS were intermediate to and not different than the low-carotenoid BCS, or low- or high-carotenoid controls. BCS performed similarly to controls on all objective cognitive measures. Multiple linear regression, controlling for age and body mass index (BMI), demonstrated an inverse association between serum carotenoid concentrations and pro-inflammatory sTNFR-II (β = 0.404, p = 0.005) and IL-6 concentrations (β = −0.35, p = 0.001), but not IL-1ra or CRP. Conclusions: Higher serum carotenoid concentrations may convey cognitive and anti-inflammatory benefits in BCS. Future research should identify dietary components and patterns that support cognitive health in cancer survivors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Carotenoids and Human Health)
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Open AccessArticle
Dietary Carotenoids Intake and the Risk of Gastric Cancer: A Case—Control Study in Korea
Nutrients 2018, 10(8), 1031; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu10081031 - 07 Aug 2018
Cited by 1
Abstract
Although the incidence of gastric cancer (GC) has declined, it remains the second most common cancer in Korea. As a class of phytochemicals, carotenoids are fat-soluble pigments that are abundant in fruits and vegetables and have health-promoting properties, including cancer prevention effects. This [...] Read more.
Although the incidence of gastric cancer (GC) has declined, it remains the second most common cancer in Korea. As a class of phytochemicals, carotenoids are fat-soluble pigments that are abundant in fruits and vegetables and have health-promoting properties, including cancer prevention effects. This case-control study investigated the effects of total dietary carotenoids, dietary carotenoid subclasses (α-carotene, β-carotene, β-cryptoxanthin, lutein/zeaxanthin, and lycopene), and foods contributing to the dietary intake of each carotenoid on the risk of GC. Four hundred and fifteen cases and 830 controls were recruited from the National Cancer Center Hospital in Korea between March 2011 and December 2014. A significant inverse association between total dietary carotenoids and GC risk was observed among women (odds ratio (OR) 0.56, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.32–0.99). A higher intake of dietary lycopene was inversely associated with GC risk overall in the subjects (OR 0.60, 95% CI 0.42–0.85, p for trend = 0.012), men (OR 0.60, 95% CI 0.39–0.93), and women (OR 0.54, 95% CI 0.30–0.96, p for trend = 0.039). This significant association between dietary lycopene intake and GC risk was also observed in the subgroups of Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori)-positive subjects and those who had ever smoked. Among the major contributing foods of dietary lycopene, consumption of tomatoes and tomato ketchup was inversely associated with GC risk in the overall subjects, men, and women. Based on our findings, a higher intake of dietary lycopene and contributing foods of lycopene (tomatoes and tomato ketchup) may be inversely associated with the risk of GC. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Carotenoids and Human Health)
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Anti-Obesity Effect of Carotenoids: Direct Impact on Adipose Tissue and Adipose Tissue-Driven Indirect Effects
Nutrients 2019, 11(7), 1562; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11071562 - 11 Jul 2019
Abstract
This review summarizes current knowledge on the biological relevance of carotenoids and some of their metabolites in obesity management. The relationship between carotenoids and obesity is considered in clinical studies and in preclinical studies. Adipose tissue is a key organ in obesity etiology [...] Read more.
This review summarizes current knowledge on the biological relevance of carotenoids and some of their metabolites in obesity management. The relationship between carotenoids and obesity is considered in clinical studies and in preclinical studies. Adipose tissue is a key organ in obesity etiology and the main storage site for carotenoids. We thus first describe carotenoid metabolism in adipocyte and adipose tissue and the effects of carotenoids on biological processes in adipose tissue that may be linked to obesity management in in vitro and preclinical studies. It is also now well established that the brain is strongly involved in obesity processes. A section is accordingly devoted to the potential effect of carotenoids on obesity via their direct and/or adipose tissue-driven indirect biological effects on the brain. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Carotenoids and Human Health)
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Open AccessReview
Skin Carotenoids in Public Health and Nutricosmetics: The Emerging Roles and Applications of the UV Radiation-Absorbing Colourless Carotenoids Phytoene and Phytofluene
Nutrients 2019, 11(5), 1093; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11051093 - 16 May 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
In this work, the importance of dietary carotenoids in skin health and appearance is comprehensively reviewed and discussed. References are made to their applications in health-promoting and nutricosmetic products and the important public health implications that can be derived. Attention is focused on [...] Read more.
In this work, the importance of dietary carotenoids in skin health and appearance is comprehensively reviewed and discussed. References are made to their applications in health-promoting and nutricosmetic products and the important public health implications that can be derived. Attention is focused on the colourless UV radiation (UVR)-absorbing dietary carotenoids phytoene and phytofluene, which are attracting increased interest in food science and technology, nutrition, health and cosmetics. These compounds are major dietary carotenoids, readily bioavailable, and have been shown to be involved in several health-promoting actions, as pinpointed in recent reviews. The growing evidence that these unique UVR-absorbing carotenoids with distinctive structures, properties (light absorption, susceptibility to oxidation, rigidity, tendency to aggregation, or even fluorescence, in the case of phytofluene) and activities can be beneficial in these contexts is highlighted. Additionally, the recommendation that the levels of these carotenoids are considered in properly assessing skin carotenoid status is made. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Carotenoids and Human Health)
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Open AccessReview
Dietary Antioxidants, Macular Pigment, and Glaucomatous Neurodegeneration: A Review of the Evidence
Nutrients 2019, 11(5), 1002; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11051002 - 01 May 2019
Abstract
Primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG) is a leading cause of irreversible blindness worldwide, and the prevalence is projected to increase to 112 million worldwide by 2040. Intraocular pressure is currently the only proven modifiable risk factor to treat POAG, but recent evidence suggests a [...] Read more.
Primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG) is a leading cause of irreversible blindness worldwide, and the prevalence is projected to increase to 112 million worldwide by 2040. Intraocular pressure is currently the only proven modifiable risk factor to treat POAG, but recent evidence suggests a link between antioxidant levels and risk for prevalent glaucoma. Studies have found that antioxidant levels are lower in the serum and aqueous humor of glaucoma patients. In this review, we provide a brief overview of the evidence linking oxidative stress to glaucomatous pathology, followed by an in-depth discussion of epidemiological studies and clinical trials of antioxidant consumption and glaucomatous visual field loss. Lastly, we highlight a possible role for antioxidant carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin, which accumulate in the retina to form macular pigment, as evidence has emerged supporting an association between macular pigment levels and age-related eye disease, including glaucoma. We conclude that the evidence base is inconsistent in showing causal links between dietary antioxidants and glaucoma risk, and that prospective studies are needed to further investigate the possible relationship between macular pigment levels and glaucoma risk specifically. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Carotenoids and Human Health)
Open AccessReview
β-carotene in Obesity Research: Technical Considerations and Current Status of the Field
Nutrients 2019, 11(4), 842; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11040842 - 13 Apr 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Over the past decades, obesity has become a rising health problem as the accessibility to high calorie, low nutritional value food has increased. Research shows that some bioactive components in fruits and vegetables, such as carotenoids, could contribute to the prevention and treatment [...] Read more.
Over the past decades, obesity has become a rising health problem as the accessibility to high calorie, low nutritional value food has increased. Research shows that some bioactive components in fruits and vegetables, such as carotenoids, could contribute to the prevention and treatment of obesity. Some of these carotenoids are responsible for vitamin A production, a hormone-like vitamin with pleiotropic effects in mammals. Among these effects, vitamin A is a potent regulator of adipose tissue development, and is therefore important for obesity. This review focuses on the role of the provitamin A carotenoid β-carotene in human health, emphasizing the mechanisms by which this compound and its derivatives regulate adipocyte biology. It also discusses the physiological relevance of carotenoid accumulation, the implication of the carotenoid-cleaving enzymes, and the technical difficulties and considerations researchers must take when working with these bioactive molecules. Thanks to the broad spectrum of functions carotenoids have in modern nutrition and health, it is necessary to understand their benefits regarding to metabolic diseases such as obesity in order to evaluate their applicability to the medical and pharmaceutical fields. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Carotenoids and Human Health)
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Open AccessReview
Can Lycopene Impact the Androgen Axis in Prostate Cancer?: A Systematic Review of Cell Culture and Animal Studies
Nutrients 2019, 11(3), 633; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11030633 - 15 Mar 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
First-line therapy for advanced or metastatic prostate cancer (PCa) involves the removal of tumor-promoting androgens by androgen deprivation therapy (ADT), resulting in transient tumor regression. Recurrent disease is attributed to tumor adaptation to survive, despite lower circulating androgen concentrations, making the blockage of [...] Read more.
First-line therapy for advanced or metastatic prostate cancer (PCa) involves the removal of tumor-promoting androgens by androgen deprivation therapy (ADT), resulting in transient tumor regression. Recurrent disease is attributed to tumor adaptation to survive, despite lower circulating androgen concentrations, making the blockage of downstream androgen signaling a chemotherapeutic goal for PCa. Dietary intake of tomato and its predominant carotenoid, lycopene, reduce the risk for PCa, and preclinical studies have shown promising results that tomato and lycopene can inhibit androgen signaling in normal prostate tissue. The goal of this systematic review was to evaluate whether mechanistic evidence exists to support the hypothesis that tomato or lycopene interact with the androgen axis in PCa. Eighteen studies (n = 5 in vivo; n = 13 in vitro) were included in the final review. A formal meta-analysis was not feasible due to variability of the data; however, the overall estimated directions of effect for the compared studies were visually represented by albatross plots. All studies demonstrated either null or, more commonly, inhibitory effects of tomato or lycopene treatment on androgen-related outcomes. Strong mechanistic evidence was unable to be ascertained, but tomato and lycopene treatment appears to down-regulate androgen metabolism and signaling in PCa. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Carotenoids and Human Health)
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Other

Open AccessDiscussion
Mechanisms of Carotenoid Intestinal Absorption: Where Do We Stand?
Nutrients 2019, 11(4), 838; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11040838 - 13 Apr 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
A growing literature is dedicated to the understanding of carotenoid beneficial health effects. However, the absorption process of this broad family of molecules is still poorly understood. These highly lipophilic plant metabolites are usually weakly absorbed. It was long believed that β-carotene absorption [...] Read more.
A growing literature is dedicated to the understanding of carotenoid beneficial health effects. However, the absorption process of this broad family of molecules is still poorly understood. These highly lipophilic plant metabolites are usually weakly absorbed. It was long believed that β-carotene absorption (the principal provitamin A carotenoid in the human diet), and thus all other carotenoid absorption, was driven by passive diffusion through the brush border of the enterocytes. The identification of transporters able to facilitate carotenoid uptake by the enterocytes has challenged established statements. After a brief overview of carotenoid metabolism in the human upper gastrointestinal tract, a focus will be put on the identified proteins participating in the transport and the metabolism of carotenoids in intestinal cells and the regulation of these processes. Further progress in the understanding of the molecular mechanisms regulating carotenoid intestinal absorption is still required to optimize their bioavailability and, thus, their health effects. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Carotenoids and Human Health)
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