Title of Work

Serum β-carotene concentration is inversely associated with reported fatty acid intake in U.S. adults

Document Type


Publication/Presentation Date

May 2019

Conference Location

St. Louis, MO


Objective: Dietary carotenoids are mainly sourced from fruits and vegetables. The bioavailability of carotenoids is dependent on dose, quantity and dispersion, and presence of other nutrients in the diet, specifically fat.However, there is a gap in research on whether specific fatty acid classes affect serum β-carotene concentrations. Our primary objective was to assess the association between serum β-carotene concentrations and reported intake of specific fatty acid classes, utilizing data the What We Eat in America (WWEIA)/National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES). Methods:Data from 9,182 male and female participants 20-85 years of age in the NHANES 2003-2006 nationally representative, cross-sectional survey were analyzed to estimate the relationships between serum β-carotene concentrations and reported saturated (SFA), monounsaturated (MUFA), and polyunsaturated (PUFA) fatty acid intakes. Due to skewing, we log transformed serum β-carotene.Multiple linear regression estimated log(serum β-carotene) based on total reported fatty acid intakes adjusted for age, sex, and ethnicity. Results: Mean and standard error (SE) was 2.51±0.85µg/dL for log(β-carotene). Mean and SE for SFA were 26.72±16.9g, MUFA were 30.40±18.4g, and PUFA were 17.22±11.6g. β-carotene concentrations were weakly and inversely associated with fatty acid classes: SFA (r= -0.15, p<0.0001), MUFA (r=-0.14, p<0.0001), and PUFA (r=-0.05, p<0.0021).There was no association between serum β-carotene and reported total fat intakes (p=0.11). Conclusions:An inverse association between specific fatty acid classes suggests there may be multiple post-digestion factorsaffecting serum carotenoid concentrations. Total fat intake is not associated with serum β-carotene likely due to adequate carotenoid absorption even at lowest levels of reported fat consumption.

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