European Journal of Nutrition

, Volume 52, Issue 5, pp 1493–1501 | Cite as

Factors associated with serum/plasma concentrations of vitamins A, C, E and carotenoids in older people throughout Europe: the EUREYE study

  • J. V. WoodsideEmail author
  • I. S. Young
  • S. E. C. M. Gilchrist
  • J. Vioque
  • U. Chakravarthy
  • P. T. V. M. de Jong
  • M. Rahu
  • J. Seland
  • G. Soubrane
  • L. Tomazzoli
  • F. Topouzis
  • J. R. Vingerling
  • A. E. Fletcher
Original Contribution



To report on plasma/serum levels of antioxidant vitamin and carotenoids in older adults resident in multiple countries in Europe and examine relationships with potential modifiers.


Population-based cross-sectional European Eye Study in 7 centres from northern to southern Europe. In total, 4,133 participants aged 65 years or over, collected by random sampling, were recruited. Questionnaires relating to diet, lifestyle and medical history were administered. Non-fasting blood samples were analysed in a single laboratory for vitamins A, C and E and a panel of carotenoids. Associations were analysed by bootstrapped multivariable regression analysis.


Centre and season influenced the serum and plasma concentrations of all antioxidant vitamins and carotenoids. Gender, BMI, smoking, age, education, alcohol consumption and supplement use were also significantly associated with some, but not all, of the antioxidant vitamins and carotenoids examined. The proportion of variance explained ranged from 4.8 % for retinol to 25.2 % for zeaxanthin.


In older people, antioxidant vitamin and carotenoid status varies by centre and season, but is also associated with other behavioural and lifestyle variables. Studies aiming to demonstrate an association between antioxidant vitamins and carotenoid status and chronic disease risk should consider these potential confounders.


Antioxidant vitamin Carotenoids Older people Lifestyle factors Confounding factors 



The European Eye study was supported by the European Commission Vth Framework (QLK6-CT-1999–02094), Brussels, Belgium. Additional funding for cameras was provided by the Macular Disease Society UK, Andover, UK. Dr. Rahu was financed by the Estonian Ministry of Education and Science (target funding 01921112s02 and SF0940026s07), Tartu, Estonia. Additional funding in Alicante was received from the Spanish Ministry of Health (grant nos.: FIS 01/1692E and RCESP C 03/09), Madrid, Spain, CIBER de Epidemiologiá y Salud Pública, and the Generalitat Valenciana (grant nos.: CTGCA/2002/06 and G03/136), Valencia, Spain. The sponsors or funding organisations had no role in study design, data collection, data analysis, data interpretation, writing of the paper or decision to submit the paper for publication.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. V. Woodside
    • 1
    Email author
  • I. S. Young
    • 1
  • S. E. C. M. Gilchrist
    • 1
  • J. Vioque
    • 2
  • U. Chakravarthy
    • 3
  • P. T. V. M. de Jong
    • 4
  • M. Rahu
    • 5
  • J. Seland
    • 6
  • G. Soubrane
    • 7
  • L. Tomazzoli
    • 8
  • F. Topouzis
    • 9
  • J. R. Vingerling
    • 10
  • A. E. Fletcher
    • 11
  1. 1.Centre for Public Health, School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical SciencesQueen’s University BelfastBelfastUK
  2. 2.CIBER de Epidemiologia y Salud PublicaUniversidad Miguel HernandezAlicanteSpain
  3. 3.Centre for Vision and Vascular Science, School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical SciencesQueen’s University BelfastBelfastUK
  4. 4.The Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience and Academic Medical CenterAmsterdamThe Netherlands
  5. 5.Department of Epidemiology and BiostatisticsNational Institute for Health DevelopmentTallinnEstonia
  6. 6.Eye Department Stavanger University HospitalUniversity of BergenBergenNorway
  7. 7.Clinique OphthalmologiqueUniversitaire De CreteilParisFrance
  8. 8.Clinica OculisticaUniversita degli studi di VeronaVeronaItaly
  9. 9.Department of OphthalmologyAristotle University of Thessaloniki School of MedicineThessalonikiGreece
  10. 10.Departments of Epidemiology and Biostatistics and Department of OphthalmologyErasmus Medical CenterRotterdamThe Netherlands
  11. 11.Faculty of Epidemiology and Population HealthLondon School of Hygiene & Tropical MedicineLondonUK

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