Background: Several epidemiological studies have demonstrated that carotenoid concentrations relate inversely to cardiovascular disease incidence. Thus, we examined the association of circulating carotenoids with hypertension, a major macrovascular disease risk factor.
Methods: Black and White men and women in the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults Study, aged 18-30 years at recruitment (1985-1986) from four US cities, were investigated over 20 years. At years 0, 7, and 15, we determined the relationships of the sum of four serum carotenoids (alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, lutein/zeaxanthin, cryptoxanthin) and of lycopene with incident hypertension using proportional hazards regression models.
Results: In 4412 participants, year 0 sum of four carotenoids was significantly inversely associated with 20-year hypertension incidence after adjustment for baseline systolic blood pressure and other confounding factors (relative hazard per SD increase of sum of four carotenoids: 0.91; 95% confidence interval = 0.84-0.99). The inverse relationships persisted in time-dependent models updating year 0 sum of four carotenoids with year 7 and year 15 values (relative hazard per SD increase of sum of four carotenoids: 0.84; 95% confidence interval = 0.77-0.92). Lycopene was unrelated to hypertension in any model.
Conclusion: Those individuals with higher concentrations of sum of carotenoids, not including lycopene, generally had lower risk for future hypertension.