Which plasma antioxidants are most related to fruit and vegetable consumption?

Am J Epidemiol. 2001 Dec 15;154(12):1113-8. doi: 10.1093/aje/154.12.1113.


Substantial evidence suggests that fruit and vegetable intake reduces the risk of some cancers and other chronic diseases. While a varied diet containing fruits and vegetables may confer benefits greater than those of any single nutrient, it would be useful to have data on the plasma nutrients most influenced by fruit and vegetable intake. The authors examined the correlation between fruit and vegetable intake as measured by the abbreviated CLUE II food frequency questionnaire and several plasma antioxidants. This study includes 116 male subjects aged 35-72 years who were nonsmokers and nonusers of vitamin supplements and who provided blood samples in the CLUE II Study in Washington County, Maryland. Plasma was assayed for ascorbic acid, beta-carotene, beta-cryptoxanthin, and alpha- and gamma-tocopherol. Lipid- and energy-adjusted partial correlation for the relation with fruit and vegetable intake was r = 0.64 for ascorbic acid, r = 0.44 for beta-carotene, and r = 0.50 for beta-cryptoxanthin. While this study does not address efficacy, the stronger association of ascorbic acid with fruit and vegetable intake seen here may imply that ascorbic acid is an important component of the protective effect seen for fruits and vegetables in numerous epidemiologic studies.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antioxidants / administration & dosage*
  • Antioxidants / analysis*
  • Ascorbic Acid / administration & dosage*
  • Ascorbic Acid / blood
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Cryptoxanthins
  • Diet Records
  • Fruit*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Vegetables*
  • Xanthophylls
  • alpha-Tocopherol / administration & dosage
  • alpha-Tocopherol / blood
  • beta Carotene / administration & dosage
  • beta Carotene / analogs & derivatives*
  • beta Carotene / blood
  • gamma-Tocopherol / administration & dosage
  • gamma-Tocopherol / blood


  • Antioxidants
  • Biomarkers
  • Cryptoxanthins
  • Xanthophylls
  • beta Carotene
  • gamma-Tocopherol
  • alpha-Tocopherol
  • Ascorbic Acid