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.