Dietary carotenoids and certain cancers, heart disease, and age-related macular degeneration: a review of recent research

Nutr Rev. 1999 Jul;57(7):201-14. doi: 10.1111/j.1753-4887.1999.tb06944.x.


Key epidemiologic studies show associations between high dietary intakes of certain carotenoid-containing fruits and vegetables and reduced risk of prostate cancer, breast cancer, head and neck cancers, cardiovascular disease, and age-related macular degeneration, although overall the evidence is inconsistent. Little is known about the potential biochemical mechanisms whereby carotenoids might protect against disease, and human intervention trials are limited to high dose beta-carotene, which is not protective against lung cancer or cardiovascular disease. Authoritative scientific organizations continue to emphasize increased consumption of fruits and vegetables but do not make specific recommendations for carotenoids because of a lack of data that directly link them to disease reduction.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Breast Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Breast Neoplasms / prevention & control
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / prevention & control
  • Carotenoids*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cohort Studies
  • Diet*
  • Female
  • Fruit
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Macular Degeneration / epidemiology*
  • Macular Degeneration / prevention & control
  • Male
  • Nutrition Policy
  • Nutritional Requirements
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / prevention & control
  • Risk Factors
  • Vegetables


  • Carotenoids