This site uses cookies to store information on your computer. Learn more x


Providing perspectives on recent research into vitamins and nutritionals


Is a Lack of Dietary Antioxidants Contributing to Chronic Disease?

By Michael McBurney

The American Heart Association recognizes metabolic syndrome as a combination of factors that multiply a person’s risk for heart disease, diabetes and stroke. With ~ 34% of American adults being affected, metabolic syndrome is an important health concern.

Oxidative stress is thought to play an important role in the pathologies of chronic non-communicable diseases and cancer. In a new publication, Sugiura and colleagues report higher serum β-carotene concentrations are associated with ~50% lower risk of metabolic syndrome (Hazard Ratio = 0.47 between highest and lowest tertiles). Significantly lower risks for dyslipidemia were observed in tertiles with highest serum concentrations of α-carotene, β-carotene, and β-cryptoxanthin. The study followed 910 Japanese individuals for 7.8 years.

It is known that DNA is constantly oxidized and repaired. Genetic information within DNA is translated into RNA which is ‘read’ to synthesize proteins. Emerging data suggests that RNA can also be oxidized and this may contribute to diseases such as diabetes.

Vitamins and carotenoids are important antioxidants. An inverse association is found between total daily carotenoid intake and urinary markers of oxidative stress with lower prevalence of metabolic syndrome in middle-aged subjects consuming higher quantities of carotenoids. Circulating concentrations of dietary antioxidants are influenced by many factors, including consumption of fruit, vegetables, whole grains, fortified foods and dietary supplements.

Live your life with color in your diet!

Main Citation

Sugiura M, Nakamura M, Ogawa K, Ikoma Y, Yano M. High serum carotenoids associated with lower risk for the metabolic syndrome and its components among Japanese subjects: Mikkabi cohort study. 2015 Br J Nutr doi: 10.1017/S0007114515003268

Other Citations

Broedbaek K, Weimann A, Stovgaaard ES, Poulsen HE. Urinary 8-oxo-7,8-dihydro-2’-deoxyguanosine as a biomarker in type 2 diabetes. 2011 Free Radical Biol Med doi: 10.1016/j.freeradbiomed.2011.07.007

Poulsen HE, Specht E, Broedbaek K, Henriksen T, Ellervik C, Mandrup-Poulsen T, Tonnesen M, Nielsen PE, Andersen HU. Weimann A. RNA modifications by oxidation: A novel disease mechanism? 2012 Free Radical Biol Med doi: 10.1016/j.freeradbiomed.2012.01.009

Cocate PG, Natali AJ, Alfenas RCG, de Oliveira A, dos Santos EC, Hermsdorff HHM. Carotenoid consumption is related to lower lipid oxidation and DNA damage in middle-aged men. 2015 Br J Nutr doi: 10.1017/S0007114515001622

Marcadenti A, Lopes Assis Coelho RC. Dietary antioxidante and oxidative stress: Interaction between vitamins and genetics. 2015 J Nutrition Health Food Sci doi: 10.15226/jnhfs.2015.00138