Dietary antioxidant intake and risk of type 2 diabetes

Diabetes Care. 2004 Feb;27(2):362-6. doi: 10.2337/diacare.27.2.362.


Objective: The intake of antioxidants was studied for its ability to predict type 2 diabetes.

Research design and methods: A cohort of 2,285 men and 2,019 women 40-69 years of age and free of diabetes at baseline (1967-1972) was studied. Food consumption during the previous year was estimated using a dietary history interview. The intake of vitamin C, four tocopherols, four tocotrienols, and six carotenoids was calculated. During a 23-year follow-up, a total of 164 male and 219 female incident cases occurred.

Results: Vitamin E intake was significantly associated with a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes. The relative risk (RR) of type 2 diabetes between the extreme quartiles of the intake was 0.69 (95% CI 0.51-0.94, P for trend = 0.003). Intakes of alpha-tocopherol, gamma-tocopherol, delta-tocopherol, and beta-tocotrienol were inversely related to a risk of type 2 diabetes. Among single carotenoids, beta-cryptoxanthin intake was significantly associated with a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes (RR 0.58, 95% CI 0.44-0.78, P < 0.001). No association was evident between intake of vitamin C and type 2 diabetes risk.

Conclusions: This study supports the hypothesis that development of type 2 diabetes may be reduced by the intake of antioxidants in the diet.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Antioxidants*
  • Ascorbic Acid
  • Body Mass Index
  • Carotenoids
  • Cohort Studies
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / epidemiology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / genetics
  • Diet*
  • Female
  • Finland
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Factors
  • Smoking
  • Vitamin E


  • Antioxidants
  • Vitamin E
  • Carotenoids
  • Ascorbic Acid