Serum concentrations of beta-carotene, vitamins C and E, zinc and selenium are influenced by sex, age, diet, smoking status, alcohol consumption and corpulence in a general French adult population

Eur J Clin Nutr. 2005 Oct;59(10):1181-90. doi: 10.1038/sj.ejcn.1602230.


Objective: To assess relationships between energy, nutrient and food intakes, alcohol consumption, smoking status and body mass index (BMI), and serum concentrations of beta-carotene, alpha-tocopherol, vitamin C, selenium and zinc.

Methods: Data on health status, alcohol consumption, smoking habits, anthropometric data and biochemical measurements were obtained in 1821 women aged 35-60 y and 1307 men aged 45-60 y, participant to the SU.VI.MAX Study. Data on dietary intake were available on a subsample who reported six 24-h dietary records during the first 18 months of the study.

Results: Women had higher baseline serum beta-carotene and vitamin C concentrations and lower concentration for serum vitamin E, zinc and selenium than men. In women, younger age was associated with lowered mean concentration of serum beta-carotene, vitamin E and selenium. In men, only differences were observed for serum zinc, which was lower in older men. Current smokers of both sexes had significantly lower concentrations of serum beta-carotene, vitamin C and selenium, and, only in women, of vitamin E, than nonsmokers. Alcohol consumers had lower concentrations of serum beta-carotene and higher selenium concentrations. Serum beta-carotene and vitamin C concentrations were lower in obese subjects. There were positive associations of dietary beta-carotene, vitamin C and E with their serum concentrations. Age, nutrient and alcohol intakes, serum cholesterol, BMI and smoking status explained 15.2% of the variance of serum beta-carotene in men and 13.9% in women, and 10.8 and 10.0% for serum vitamin C, and 26.3 and 28.6% for serum vitamin E, respectively.

Conclusion: Serum antioxidant nutrient concentrations are primarily influenced by sex, age, obesity, tobacco smoking, alcohol consumption and especially dietary intake of those antioxidant nutrients.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Alcohol Drinking / blood
  • Antioxidants / administration & dosage
  • Antioxidants / analysis
  • Antioxidants / metabolism*
  • Ascorbic Acid / administration & dosage
  • Ascorbic Acid / blood
  • Blood Chemical Analysis
  • Diet*
  • Energy Intake
  • Female
  • France
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / blood*
  • Selenium / administration & dosage
  • Selenium / blood
  • Sex Factors
  • Smoking / blood
  • Trace Elements / administration & dosage
  • Trace Elements / analysis
  • Trace Elements / blood*
  • Vitamin E / administration & dosage
  • Vitamin E / blood
  • Zinc / administration & dosage
  • Zinc / blood
  • beta Carotene / administration & dosage
  • beta Carotene / blood


  • Antioxidants
  • Trace Elements
  • beta Carotene
  • Vitamin E
  • Selenium
  • Zinc
  • Ascorbic Acid