Monday, 4 November 2013

Phytochemicals in Foods - 13 Health Benefits of β-Carotene

β-Carotene is a phytochemincal in the class of Carotenes, belonging to the group of Carotenoids (tetraterpenoids), found abundantly in in dark, leafy greens and red, orange and yellow fruits and vegetable.

Health Benefits
1. Lung cancer in smokers
In the review of ATBC study, the CARET study, the Antioxidant Polyp Prevention trial, and the E3N study evidences which provide the adverse effects of beta-carotene supplementation with the smoking status of the study participants, concluded that human and animal studies have shown that specific circumstances, among them heavy smoking, seem to influence the effect of high beta-carotene intakes. In normal, healthy, nonsmoking populations, there is evidence of beneficial effects, according to "Beta-carotene and lung cancer in smokers: review of hypotheses and status of research" by Goralczyk R.(1)

2. Macular degeneration and vision loss
In the investigation of the effect of daily oral tablets containing: (1) antioxidants (vitamin C, 500 mg; vitamin E, 400 IU; and beta carotene, 15 mg); (2) zinc, 80 mg, as zinc oxide and copper, 2 mg, as cupric oxide; (3) antioxidants plus zinc; or (4) placebo for their effects on macular degeneration and vision loss, found that persons older than 55 years should have dilated eye examinations to determine their risk of developing advanced AMD. Those with extensive intermediate size drusen, at least 1 large druse, noncentral geographic atrophy in 1 or both eyes, or advanced AMD or vision loss due to AMD in 1 eye, and without contraindications such as smoking, should consider taking a supplement of antioxidants plus zinc such as that used in this study, according to "A randomized, placebo-controlled, clinical trial of high-dose supplementation with vitamins C and E, beta carotene, and zinc for age-related macular degeneration and vision loss: AREDS report no. 8" by Age-Related Eye Disease Study Research Group.(2)

3. Alzheimer's disease
In the determination of an association between vascular comorbidities/vascular risk factors and plasma levels of antioxidant micronutrients in patients with AD.Patients. A neuropsychological assessment (Mini-Mental State Examination, MMSE; Clock drawing test; DemTect) and the measurement of plasma levels of lipophilic micronutrients including retinol (vitamin A), α-tocopherol (vitamin E), lutein, zeaxanthin, β-cryptoxanthin, lycopene, α-carotene and β-carotene by HPLC found that the depletion of circulating antioxidant micronutrients observed in AD  patients is associated with vascular comorbidities and risk factors. The vascular comorbidities of patients with AD should also be identified in light of the presence and degree of depletion of the antioxidant defense system of the organism. This might lead to a better lifestyle-related counselling of patients with AD  and their caregivers, with possible positive preventive effects on worsening in the long run, according to "[Influence of vascular comorbidities on the antioxidant defense system in Alzheimer's disease].[Article in German]" by Polidori MC, Stahl W, De Spirt S, Pientka L.(3)

4. Breast cancer
In the assessment of Carotenoids antioxidant and antiproliferative properties in reducing the risk of breast cancer, found that dietary alpha-carotene and beta-carotene were inversely associated with the risk of ER-PR-breast cancer among ever smokers. Among ever smokers, the multivariable relative risks of ER-PR-breast cancer comparing the highest with the lowest quintile of intake were 0.32 (95% confidence interval (CI): 0.11-0.94; P(trend)=0.01) for alpha-carotene and 0.35 (95% CI: 0.12-0.99; P(trend)=0.03) for beta-carotene. The risk of breast cancer also decreased with increasing intakes of alpha-carotene (P(trend) = 0.02) and beta-carotene (P(trend)=0.01) among women who did not use dietary supplements, according to "Dietary carotenoids and risk of hormone receptor-defined breast cancer in a prospective cohort of Swedish women" by Larsson SC, Bergkvist L, Wolk A.(4)

5. Prostate cancer
In the consideration of the association between retinol and various carotenoids using data from a multicentric case-control study conducted in Italy between 1991 and 2002, found that the risk of prostate cancer tended to decrease with increasing intake of retinol (OR=0.79 for the highest versus the lowest quintile of intake), carotene (OR=0.70), alpha-carotene (OR=0.85) and beta-carotene (OR=0.72), although the estimates were significant for carotene and beta-carotene only. No meaningful associations emerged for nonprovitamin A carotenoids, such as lycopene (OR=0.94) and lutein/zeaxanthin (OR=0.91), according to "Retinol, carotenoids and the risk of prostate cancer: a case-control study from Italy" by Bosetti C, Talamini R, Montella M, Negri E, Conti E, Franceschi S, La Vecchia C.(5)

6. Pancreatic carcinogenesis
In the consideration of the role of 15 selected vitamins and carotenoids and 6 minerals on pancreatic cancer risk in an Italian case-control study, found that comparing the highest to the lowest quintile of intake, the OR were 0.60 (95% CI 0.36-0.98) for vitamin E, 0.44 (95% CI 0.27-0.73) for vitamin C, 0.56 (95% CI 0.34-0.93) for folate, and 0.57 (95% CI 0.35-0.92) for potassium. No significant inverse associations were observed for α-carotene (OR = 0.69, 95% CI 0.43-1.12), β-carotene (OR = 0.64, 95% CI 0.39-1.06), and β-cryptoxanthin (OR = 0.66, 95% CI 0.39-1.09). No relation was found for other micronutrients considered. Our findings support a favorable role of vitamins E and C, selected carotenoids, and folate on pancreatic carcinogenesis, according to "Dietary intake of selected micronutrients and the risk of pancreatic cancer: an Italian case-control study" by Bravi F, Polesel J, Bosetti C, Talamini R, Negri E, Dal Maso L, Serraino D, La Vecchia C.(6)

7. Benign prostatic hyperplasia
In the analyzing the relationship between surgically treated benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) and intake of selected micronutrients, found that the risk of BPH significantly decreased with increasing intake of carotene (OR=0.80 for an increment equal to the difference between the 80th and 20th percentile of intake), alpha-carotene (OR=0.83), beta-carotene (OR=0.82), and cis beta-carotene (OR=0.82) and tended to decrease with the intake of vitamin C (OR=0.89) and iron (OR=0.79), according to "Intake of selected micronutrients and the risk of surgically treated benign prostatic hyperplasia: a case-control study from Italy" by Tavani A, Longoni E, Bosetti C, Maso LD, Polesel J, Montella M, Ramazzotti V, Negri E, Franceschi S, La Vecchia C.(7)

8. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
In the assessment of the role of vitamins, as assessed either by food frequency questionnaires or measured in serum levels, have been reported to improve pulmonary function, reduce exacerbations and improve symptoms, found that various vitamins (vitamin C, D, E, A, beta and alpha carotene) are associated with improvement in features of COPD such as symptoms, exacerbations and pulmonary function. High vitamin intake would probably reduce the annual decline of FEV1, according to "A systematic review of the role of vitamin insufficiencies and supplementation in COPD" by Tsiligianni IG, van der Molen T.(8)

9. Antibacterial and Antioxidant Properties
In the evaluation fo Pteleopsis hylodendron (Combretaceae) is used in Cameroon and West Africa folk medicine for antibacterial and antioxidant Properties, found that the methanolic extract and some fractions exhibited antibacterial activities that varied between the bacterial species (ID = 0.00-25.00 mm; MIC = 781-12500 μg/mL and 0.24-1000 μg/mL). The activity of the crude extract is, however, very weak compared to the reference antibiotics (MIC = 0.125-128 μg/mL). Two fractions (F(E) and F(F)) showed significant activity (MIC = 0.97 μg/mL) while S. aureus ATCC 25922 was almost resistant to all the tested fractions, according to "Antibacterial and Antioxidant Properties of the Methanolic Extract of the Stem Bark of Pteleopsis hylodendron (Combretaceae)" by Mokale Kognou AL, Ngono Ngane RA, Kuiate JR, Koanga Mogtomo ML, Tchinda Tiabou A, Mouokeu RS, Biyiti L, Amvam Zollo PH(9)

10. Colorectal cancer (CRC)
In the evaluation of the dietary pattern and lifestyle characteristics of patients with colorectal cancer (CRC) in Jordan of the case-control study included 220 recently diagnosed CRC cases and 220 age and gender matched healthy subjects as a control group, found that A sedentary lifestyle and a diet low in fruits and vegetables, and high in animal red meat and saturated fat, appeared associated with CRC among the studied Jordanian subjects. This is consistent with the reported CRC studies in developed nations indicating global causal effects for this tumour type, according to "Dietary and Lifestyle Characteristics of Colorectal Cancer in Jordan: a Case-control Study" by Arafa MA, Waly MI, Jriesat S, Alkhafajei A, Sallam S.(10)

11. Metabolic syndrome
In the investigation of the effectiveness of a 10-week lifestyle intervention focusing on physical activity and high fiber intake for reducing indicators for metabolic syndrome in overweight-obese individuals, found that both groups improved their dietary quality, but only G2 presented higher intake of fruit and vegetables (servings/day), higher plasma beta-carotene levels and a 24% reduction of MetS incidence. Additionally G2 showed greater reductions in body fat (4%), and waist circumference (7%), obesity class III (2%) and obesity class II (14%) rate. Lifestyle intervention, including a high dietary fiber intake, improved healthy eating index and decreased body fat composition and plasma lipid concentrations leading to MetS incidence reduction, according to "Ten-week lifestyle changing program reduces several indicators for metabolic syndrome in overweight adults" by Mecca MS, Moreto F, Burini FH, Dalanesi RC, McLellan KC, Burini RC.(11)

12. Metabolic Syndrome and Cardiovascular Disease
In the investigation of the associations of hypothesized prooxidative (Fe) and antioxidative (Zn, Mg, β-carotene, vitamin C, vitamin E) micronutrients with incident MetS, T2D, and CVD in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis, found that Dietary intakes of nonheme iron, Mg, vitamin C, and β-carotene were not associated with risk of MetS, T2D, or CVD. Data provided little support for the associations between specific micronutrients and MetS, T2D, or CVD. However, nutrients consumed in red meat, or red meat as a whole, may increase risk of MetS and CVD, according to "Dietary Intakes of Zinc and Heme Iron from Red Meat, but Not from Other Sources, Are Associated with Greater Risk of Metabolic Syndrome and Cardiovascular Disease" by de Oliveiraotto MC, Alonso A, Lee DH, Delclos GL, Bertoni AG, Jiang R, Lima JA, Symanski E, Jacobs DR Jr, Nettleton JA.(12)

13. Gastric cancer
In the consideration of several micronutrients and minerals in an Italian case-control study conducted between 1997 and 2007, including 230 patients with incident, histologically confirmed gastric cancer and 547 matched controls, admitted with acute conditions,
found that decreased ORs for the highest versus lowest quartile of vitamin E (OR=0.50), alpha-carotene (OR=0.52) and beta-carotene (OR=0.42) intake. Gastric cancer was directly associated with sodium, with ORs of 2.22 for the second, 2.56 for the third and 2.46 for the fourth quartile of intake. No significant relation emerged with iron, calcium, potassium, zinc, vitamin C, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6, folate, vitamin D, retinol, beta-cryptoxanthin, lycopene and lutein plus zeaxanthin, according to "Dietary intake of selected micronutrients and gastric cancer risk: an Italian case-control study" by Pelucchi C, Tramacere I, Bertuccio P, Tavani A, Negri E, La Vecchia C.(13)

14. Etc.
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