Monday, 4 November 2013

Phytochemicals in Foods - 13 Health Benefits of α-Carotene

α-Carotene is a phytochemincal in the class of Carotenes, belonging to the group of Carotenoids (tetraterpenoids), found abundantly in carrots, pumpkins, maize, tangerine, orange, etc.

Health Benefits
1. head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC)
In the comparison of plasma carotenoids (i.e., biomarkers of fruits and vegetables intake) and tocopherols in 29 head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) patients
found that a significant positive association between postradiotherapy plasma carotenoids (lutein, alpha-carotene, and beta-carotene) and progression-free survival in these patients. This study indicates that increasing postradiotherapy plasma carotenoid concentration may reduce risk of premature death or recurrence of tumor in HNSCC patients, according to "Postradiotherapy plasma lutein, alpha-carotene, and beta-carotene are positively associated with survival in patients with head and neck squamous cell carcinoma" by Sakhi AK, Bøhn SK, Smeland S, Thoresen M, Smedshaug GB, Tausjø J, Svilaas A, Karlsen A, Russnes KM, Svilaas T, Blomhoff R.(1)

2. 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.(2)

3. Age-related macular degeneration
In the investigation of the association between serum concentrations of carotenoids and the presence of AMD was evaluated in a case-control sample of elderly Chinese subjects, found that Serum levels of carotenoids and retinol were significantly lower in the cases with exudative AMD than in the controls. Median levels of lutein and zeaxanthin were 0.538 and 0.101 μM, respectively, in the control subjects, and 0.488 and 0.076 μM, respectively, in cases with exudative AMD. After adjustment for age, sex, smoking status, and body mass index (BMI), a significant inverse association was observed for exudative AMD with serum zeaxanthin (relative risk ratio [RRR], 0.04; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0-0.35), lycopene (RRR, 0.22; 95% CI, 0.1-0.48), and α-carotene (RRR, 0.24; 95% CI, 0.12-0.51). Early AMD was inversely associated only with lycopene (RRR, 0.49; 95% CI, 0.28-0.86) but was positively associated with α-carotene (RRR, 2.22; 95% CI, 1.37-3.58). No significant associations were observed between serum lutein and cases with early or exudative AMD, according to "Serum carotenoids and risk of age-related macular degeneration in a chinese population sample" by Zhou H, Zhao X, Johnson EJ, Lim A, Sun E, Yu J, Zhang Y, Liu X, Snellingen T, Shang F, Liu N.(3)

4. Mortality risk
In the investigation of to whether serum carotenoid concentrations predict mortality among US adults. The study consisted of adults aged ≥20 years enrolled in the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 1988 to 1994, with measured serum carotenoids and mortality follow-up through 2006 (N = 13,293), indicated that in a random survival forest analysis, very low lycopene was the carotenoid most strongly predictive of all-cause mortality, followed by very low total carotenoids. α-Carotene/β-cryptoxanthin, α-carotene/lutein+zeaxanthin and lycopene/lutein+zeaxanthin interactions were significantly related to all-cause mortality (P < .05). Low α-carotene was the only carotenoid associated with cardiovascular disease mortality (P = .002). No carotenoids were significantly associated with cancer mortality, according to "Low-serum carotenoid concentrations and carotenoid interactions predict mortality in US adults: the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey" by Shardell MD, Alley DE, Hicks GE, El-Kamary SS, Miller RR, Semba RD, Ferrucci L.(4)

5. Metabolic syndrome
In the examination of the association between serum antioxidant status and MetS. NHANES 2001-2006 cross-sectional data among adults aged 20-85 y were analyzed (n = 3008-9099). MetS was defined with the National Cholesterol Education Program Adult Treatment Panel III (NCEP ATP III) and also by elevated homeostatic model assessment insulin resistance (HOMA-IR), C-reactive protein (CRP) and hyperuricemia, found that Serum antioxidants included retinol, retinyl esters, carotenoids [α-carotene, β-carotene (cis+trans), β-cryptoxanthin, lutein+zeaxanthin, total lycopene], vitamin E, and vitamin C. MetS (NCEP ATP III) prevalence in U.S. adults was 32.0% among men and 29.5% among women. Adults with MetS had consistently lower serum carotenoid concentrations compared with those without MetS, even after controlling for total cholesterol and TG among other potential confounders, according to "Serum antioxidant status is associated with metabolic syndrome among U.S. adults in recent national surveys" by Beydoun MA, Shroff MR, Chen X, Beydoun HA, Wang Y, Zonderman AB.(5)

6. 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.(6)

7. Antiproliferation effect
In the evaluation of a preparative column chromatographic method for isolation of carotenoids and chlorophylls from Gynostemma pentaphyllum, a traditional Chinese herb for their antiproliferative effects on the hepatoma cell Hep3B, found that both carotenoid (all-trans- and cis-isomers of lutein, α-carotene, and β-carotene as well as epoxy-containing carotenoids) and chlorophyll fractions as well as lutein and chlorophyll a standards at 50-100 μg/mL were effective against Hep3B cells with a dose-dependent response with the following order: carotenoid fraction > chlorophyll fraction > lutein > chlorophyll a. For all treatments, the cell cycle was arrested in the G₀/G₁ phase, with Hep3B cells undergoing necrosis or apoptosis, according to "Preparation of carotenoids and chlorophylls from Gynostemma pentaphyllum (Thunb.) Makino and their antiproliferation effect on hepatoma cell" by Tsai YC, Wu WB, Chen BH.(7)

8. Squamous intraepithelial lesions (SIL)
In the assessment of a nested case-control study of 265 HPV-positive women (93 SIL cases and 172 cytologically normal controls) in the Ludwig-McGill Cohort Study, São Paulo, Brazil, found that higher reported consumption of papaya was inversely associated with risk of SIL (p trend=0.01) and strongest for >or=1 time/week (adjusted odds ratios (AORs)=0.19; 95%CI, 0.08-0.49). Risk of SIL was reduced among women reporting consumption of oranges >or=1 time/week (AOR=0.32; 95%CI, 0.12-0.87; p-trend=0.02). Nutrient intakes of ss-cryptoxanthin and alpha-carotene were marginally protective against SIL, according to "Dietary consumption of antioxidant nutrients and risk of incident cervical intraepithelial neoplasia" by Siegel EM, Salemi JL, Villa LL, Ferenczy A, Franco EL, Giuliano AR.(8)

9. 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.(9)

10. 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.(10)

11. 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.(11)

12. 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.(12)

13. 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.(13)

14. Etc.
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