Intestinal absorption of beta-carotene ingested with a meal rich in sunflower oil or beef tallow: postprandial appearance in triacylglycerol-rich lipoproteins in women

Am J Clin Nutr. 2000 May;71(5):1170-80. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/71.5.1170.


Background: Evidence indicates that different types of fat have different effects on the postprandial plasma triacylglycerol response. Therefore, the type of fat may influence the appearance of beta-carotene in postprandial triacylglycerol-rich lipoproteins, which is used as an indicator of intestinal beta-carotene absorption.

Objective: We compared in female subjects the appearance of beta-carotene in plasma triacylglycerol-rich lipoproteins after beta-carotene was ingested with a meal containing sunflower oil or beef tallow.

Design: Women (n = 11) each ingested 2 different vitamin A-free, fat-rich meals that were supplemented with beta-carotene (47 micromol) and contained equivalent amounts (60 g) of sunflower oil or beef tallow. Blood samples were collected hourly from 0 to 10 h; additional samples were collected at selected intervals until 528 h. In a subgroup of the women (n = 7), plasma chylomicrons and 3 subfractions of VLDLs were separated by cumulative rate ultracentrifugation.

Results: The appearance of beta-carotene in chylomicrons and in each VLDL subfraction was lower after ingestion with the meal containing sunflower oil than after ingestion with the meal containing beef tallow (P < 0.03). In chylomicrons, the area under the concentration-versus-time curve (AUC) for beta-carotene was 38.1 +/- 13.6% lower (P < 0.03); in contrast, the AUC for triacylglycerol was higher (P < 0.05) after the sunflower-oil-rich meal than after the beef-tallow-rich meal.

Conclusions: Ingestion of beta-carotene with a meal rich in sunflower oil as compared with a meal rich in beef tallow results in lower appearance of beta-carotene and greater appearance of triacylglycerol in triacylglycerol-rich lipoproteins.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Cattle
  • Chylomicrons / chemistry
  • Dietary Fats / metabolism*
  • Diterpenes
  • Fats / metabolism
  • Fatty Acids / metabolism
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Absorption / physiology*
  • Lipoproteins / blood
  • Lipoproteins / chemistry
  • Lipoproteins / metabolism*
  • Lipoproteins, LDL / chemistry
  • Lipoproteins, VLDL / chemistry
  • Plant Oils / metabolism
  • Postprandial Period
  • Retinyl Esters
  • Sunflower Oil
  • Triglycerides / blood
  • Ultracentrifugation
  • Vitamin A / analogs & derivatives
  • Vitamin A / metabolism
  • beta Carotene / blood
  • beta Carotene / pharmacokinetics*
  • beta Carotene / physiology


  • Chylomicrons
  • Dietary Fats
  • Diterpenes
  • Fats
  • Fatty Acids
  • Lipoproteins
  • Lipoproteins, LDL
  • Lipoproteins, VLDL
  • Plant Oils
  • Retinyl Esters
  • Sunflower Oil
  • Triglycerides
  • beta Carotene
  • Vitamin A
  • retinol palmitate
  • tallow