Fruit and vegetable consumption has been inversely associated with the risk of chronic diseases including cancer and cardiovascular disease, with the beneficial effects attributed to a variety of protective antioxidants, carotenoids and phytonutrients. The objective of the present study was to determine the effect of supplementation with dehydrated concentrates from mixed fruit and vegetable juices (Juice Plus+R) on serum antioxidant and folate status, plasma homocysteine levels and markers for oxidative stress and DNA damage. Japanese subjects (n=60; age 27.8 yrs; BMI 22.1) were recruited to participate in a double-blind placebo controlled study and were randomized into 2 groups of 30, matched for sex, age, BMI and smoking status (39 males, 22 smokers; 21 females, 13 smokers). Subjects were given encapsulated supplements containing mixed fruit and vegetable juice concentrates or a matching placebo for 28 days, with blood and urine samples collected at baseline, day 14 and day 28 for analytical testing. Compared with the placebo, 28 day supplementation significantly increased the concentration of serum beta-carotene 528% (p<0.0001), lycopene 80.2% (p<0.0005), and alpha tocopherol 39.5% (p<0.0001). Serum folate increased 174.3% (p<0.0001) and correlated with a decrease in plasma homocysteine of -19.9% (p<0.03). Compared with baseline, measures of oxidative stress decreased with serum lipid peroxides declining -10.5% (p<0.02) and urine 8OHdG decreasing -21.1% (p<0.02). Evaluation of data from smokers only (n=17) after 28 days of active supplementation showed comparable changes.
Conclusion: In the absence of dietary modification, supplementation with the fruit and vegetable juice concentrate capsules proved to be a highly bioavailable source of phytonutrients. Important antioxidants were elevated to desirable levels associated with decreased risk of disease while markers of oxidative stress were reduced, and folate status improved with a concomitant decrease in homocysteine, and these benefits occurred to a similar extent in smokers when compared to non-smokers.