Serum carotenoid concentrations in postmenopausal women from the United States with and without osteoporosis

Int J Vitam Nutr Res. 2008 May;78(3):105-11. doi: 10.1024/0300-9831.78.3.105.


Antioxidant defenses may be compromised in osteoporotic women. Little is known about fruit and vegetable or carotenoid consumption among postmenopausal women. The primary carotenoids in human serum are alpha- and beta-carotene, lycopene, beta-cryptoxanthin, lutein, and zeaxanthin. This study investigated the interrelationships among serum carotenoid concentrations, fruit and vegetable intake, and osteoporosis in postmenopausal women (n = 59, 62.7 +/- 8.8 y). Bone density was assessed by dual energy x-ray absorptiometry and osteoporosis diagnosis was based upon T-scores. Serum samples (n = 53) and three-day diet records (n = 49) were analyzed. Logistic regression analyzed differences between carotenoids after adjusting for serum retinol; supplement usage; milk, yogurt, fruit, and vegetable intake; and body mass index (BMI). Pearson statistics correlated carotenoids with specific fruit or vegetable intake. Serum lycopene concentrations were lower in the osteoporosis group than controls (p = 0.03). Beta-cryptoxanthin intake was higher in the osteoporosis group (p = 0.0046). Total fruit and vegetable intakes were correlated with serum lycopene and beta-cryptoxanthin (p = 0.03, 0.006, respectively). Serum alpha-carotene concentration was associated with carrot intake, and zeaxanthin and beta-cryptoxanthin with lettuce intake. Carotenoids that may have beneficial skeletal effects are lower in women with osteoporosis. Research is needed to identify potential protective mechanisms or utilization of carotenoids during osteoporosis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Absorptiometry, Photon / methods
  • Body Mass Index
  • Bone Density
  • Carotenoids / blood*
  • Cryptoxanthins
  • Diet / methods
  • Diet Records
  • Female
  • Fruit
  • Humans
  • Lycopene
  • Middle Aged
  • Osteoporosis, Postmenopausal / blood*
  • Postmenopause / blood*
  • Reference Values
  • United States
  • Vegetables
  • Xanthophylls / blood
  • Zeaxanthins


  • Cryptoxanthins
  • Xanthophylls
  • Zeaxanthins
  • Carotenoids
  • Lycopene