Submitted to: American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Publication Type: Peer reviewed journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/6/1997
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: Interpretive Summary: Data on blood levels of vitamin E and the major carotenoids in adults over the age of 65, particularly in those older than 80, are sparse. In the current study vitamin A, vitamin E (alpha- and gamma-tocopherols), and carotenoid (lutein/zeaxanthin, cryptoxanthins, lycopene, and alpha- and beta-carotene) levels were determined in the blood of 638 subjects, 230 men and 408 women, of the Framingham Heart Study. All subjects were free of clinical evidence of cardiovascular disease and cancer. Women had significantly higher blood levels of alpha-tocopherol, beta-cryptoxanthin, and alpha- and beta-carotene than did men. Lycopene levels were inversely correlated with age and lowest among subjects aged 80 and over. Total intakes (diet + supplements) of vitamin C and vitamin E, but not dietary intakes alone, were positively associated with blood levels of alpha- tocopherol and inversely associated with gamma-tocopherol levels. For the majority of carotenoids, blood levels increased as cholesterol levels increased and decreased as body mass index and smoking increased. For lycopene, levels increased as cholesterol increased and decreased with age. In summary, distributions of vitamin E and carotenoids were comparable with those established in younger people, suggesting that overall antioxidant status is not altered in older people.
Technical Abstract: Data on plasma concentrations of tocopherols and the major carotenoids in adults aged ~65 y, particularly in those > 80 y, are sparse. In the current study retinol, tocopherol (a-and y-tocopherols), and carotenoid (lutein/zeaxanthin, cryptoxanthins, lycopene, and a- and B-carotene) concentrations were determined in 638 subjects, 230 men (aged 75+/-5 y) and 408 women (76+/-6 y), of the Framingham Heart Study. Percentile ranges were comparable with those established in younger cohorts. Moreover, women had significantly higher plasma a-tocopherol and plasma and lipoprotein concentrations of B-cryptoxanthin and a- and B-carotene than did men. Lycopene concentrations were inversely correlated with age and lowest among subjects ~80 y. Total intakes (diet + supplements) of vitamin C and vitamin E, but not dietary intakes alone, were positively associated with plasma a-tocopherol and inversely associated with y-tocopherol concentra- tions. In multivariate analyses, plasma cholesterol and triacylglycerol concentrations and total intake of vitamins E and C predicted 64% and 55% of the plasma a-tocopherol concentrations in men and women, respectively. Important predictors for the majority of carotenoids included plasma cholesterol concentration, body mass index (negative effect), and smoking status (negative effect); for lycopene concentration they included cholesterol concentration and age (negative effect). In summary, percentile ranges and lipoprotein distributions were comparable with those established in younger cohorts, suggesting that overall antioxidant status is not altered in people between the ages of 67 and 96 y.