, Volume 47, Issue 6, pp 335-340
Date: 16 Aug 2008

Low total plasma carotenoids are independent predictors of mortality among older persons

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Abstract

Background

Plasma carotenoids are considered a valid biological marker for fruit and vegetable dietary intake. Recent studies show that low carotenoid levels are associated with a high risk of inflammation, cancer, and cardiovascular disease.

Aim of the study

To determine whether low plasma carotenoids are associated with increased mortality among older adults.

Methods

Longitudinal study among 1,043 adults, 65 years and older, in the InCHIANTI study, a population-based cohort of adults living in the community in the Tuscany region, Italy.

Results

Mean total carotenoid concentration was 1.80 µmol/l. During eight years of follow-up, 310 (29.7%) of participants died. Eight-year survival was lower in the lowest compared with the highest tertile of total serum carotenoids (P < 0.0001 by Mantel-Haenszel chi-square). In a multivariate Cox proportional hazards model adjusted for age, education, smoking, body mass index, energy intake, and chronic diseases, adults in the highest tertile of plasma carotenoids at enrollment had lower mortality compared to those in the lowest tertile (Hazards Ratio obtained by considering carotenoids level as an ordinal variable 0.81, 95%; CI 0.65–0.99; P for trend = 0.046).

Conclusions

Low plasma carotenoids are an independent risk factor for mortality among older adults living in the community.