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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

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Location: Healthy Body Weight Research

2013 Annual Report

1a. Objectives (from AD-416):
To validate skin carotenoid detection as a marker of fruit and vegetable intake to study the possible health effects that accumulate in human skin, which reflect dietary intake from food sources. Validation through a skin carotenoid detection device would allow researchers better tools for studying strategies to increase fruit and vegetable consumption in large populations and groups of people in whom non-invasive techniques are especially preferred (e.g. children).

1b. Approach (from AD-416):
The Grand Forks Human Nutrition Research Center (GFHNRC) studies healthy diets based on the Dietary Guidelines and how they can help people maintain a healthy body weight, as well as prevent obesity and other chronic health problems. Fruits and vegetables are an important component to a healthy diet and many Americans do not eat the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables. There are many research efforts looking at ways to increase consumption of fruits and vegetables, however, there is a need to develop better ways to assess fruit and vegetable intake in people. Validation of skin carotenoid detection as a marker of fruit and vegetable intake will be accomplished through a controlled feeding study conducted at the GFHNRC. Study volunteers will be fed (on an outpatient basis) a diet initially devoid of carotenoids (“wash-out period”) followed by a diet rich in carotenoids. A skin carotenoid detection device will be used to monitor skin carotenoid levels in response to increases in intake of vegetables and fruits.

3. Progress Report:
This research project includes an ancillary project validating the use of resonance Raman spectroscopy for measuring skin carotenoid levels as a non-invasive tool to assess fruit & vegetable (F&V) intake (blood carotenoid levels are the current standard biomarker for F&V intake). This project is a collaboration with investigators at Yale University and the University of Utah. Data collection is complete; data analysis is nearly complete. Two additional abstracts have been published (and presented as an oral and poster abstracts at the annual Experimental Biology meeting). An invited review has been published and manuscripts are in preparation. Jahns L, Whigham L, Johnson L, Mayne S, Cartmel B, Ermakov I, Gellerman W. Skin total carotenoids predict plasma carotenoid levels during a 28-week experimental feeding study with varying levels of vegetables and fruit. Experimental Biology Meetings, Boston, MA. April 20-24, 2013. Whigham L, Jahns L, Claycombe K, Johnson L. Consumption of carotenoid-rich diet improves plasma inflammatory markers. Experimental Biology Meetings, Boston, MA. April 20-24, 2013. Mayne ST, Cartmel B, Scarmo S, Jahns L, Ermakov IV, Gellermann W. Resonance Raman spectrographic evaluation of skin carotenoid status for human studies. Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics (2013), doi:

4. Accomplishments

Last Modified: 07/25/2017
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