Submitted to: Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: June 22, 1999
Publication Date: July 1, 2000
Citation: Clevidence, B.A., Paeau, I., Smith Jr, J.C. 2000. Bioavailability of carotenoids from vegetables, proceedings of j. am. hort.sci.. Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science. Technical Abstract: Carotenoids, the yellow-red pigments in many fruits and vegetables, are among the phytonutrients thought to provide protection from chronic diseases including cardiovascular disease and cancer. For carotenoids to exert these purported benefits, they must be absorbed and transported to sites where they exert their effects. The heat-treatments involved in cooking and food processing generally enhance the bioavailability of carotenoids. Heat treatments associated with food processing can convert the naturally occurring trans isomers of beta-carotene to cis isomers, but heat-induced isomerization of lycopene is minimal. Dietary fat enhances the absorption of carotenoids, but the amount of fat required to optimize carotenoid absorption is unknown. Dietary fiber reduces plasma response of carotenoids as do certain drugs and dietary agents that interfere with micelle formation or availability. Consuming realistic amounts of carotenoid-rich vegetables increases concentrations of carotenoids in human plasma and tissue. Certain carotenoids can enhance or limit the bioavailability of other carotenoids, and in some cases, carotenoid bioavailability is greater from supplements than from foods. Carotenoid supplements have not yet been demonstrated to provide major health benefits, but there is substantial evidence that habitual consumption of carotenoid rich fruits and vegetables is an effective strategy for preserving health.