Low serum lycopene and β-carotene increase risk of acute myocardial infarction in men

Eur J Public Health. 2012 Dec;22(6):835-40. doi: 10.1093/eurpub/ckr174. Epub 2011 Dec 7.


Objective: Previous studies have shown that high intake or concentrations of serum carotenoids may protect against acute myocardial infarction (AMI). The role of carotenoids on the risk of AMI remains inconsistent. The aim of the present study was to examine if serum concentrations of major carotenoids are related to AMI in men.

Methods: The study population consisted of 1031 Finnish men aged 46-65 years in the Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor (KIHD) cohort. Serum concentrations of carotenoids, retinol and α-tocopherol were measured by high-performance liquid chromatography. The association between the serum concentrations of lycopene α-carotene and β-carotene and the risk of AMI was studied by using the Cox proportional hazard models.

Results: A total of 194 incident AMI cases occurred during an average of 11.5 follow-up years. After adjusting for potential confounders, the risk of AMI for men in the lowest tertile of serum concentrations compared with men in the highest tertile was 1.55 (95% CI 1.05- 2.30; P = 0.028) for lycopene and 1.60 (95% CI 1.09-2.35; P = 0.017) for β-carotene.

Conclusions: This cross-sectional study shows that low serum lycopene and β-carotene concentrations may increase the risk of AMI in men.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Carotenoids / blood*
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid / methods
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Finland / epidemiology
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Lycopene
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Myocardial Infarction / blood
  • Myocardial Infarction / epidemiology*
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Risk Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • beta Carotene / blood*


  • beta Carotene
  • Carotenoids
  • Lycopene